Libraries Transforming Communities: Large or Urban Public Libraries

Learning Sessions

Webinar 1: "Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change Overview" (recorded Feb. 9, 2017)

Webinar 2: "Libraries Transforming Communities: Introduction to Dialogue & Deliberation" (recorded March 9, 2017)


Webinar 3: "Libraries Transforming Communities: World Cafe" (recorded April 6, 2017)


Webinar 4: "Libraries Transforming Communities: Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change Process" (recorded May 1, 2017)


In-Person Workshop: "LTC Models for Change: Dialogue & Deliberation for Large and Urban Communities" (held June 23, 2017 at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference)


Featured Methods

Everyday DemocracyEveryday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process encourages diverse groups of people to come together, engage in inclusive and respectful dialogue, and find common solutions to community problems. Everyday Democracy’s process is suited for communities that want to build trust, relationships, and collaboration among residents and that want to examine issues of institutional racism and socioeconomic and other disparities.

The dialogues consist of groups of 8 to 10 people from different backgrounds and viewpoints who meet several times to talk about an issue. These community dialogues create spaces in which everyone has an equal voice and people try to understand each other’s views. They do not have to always agree with each other. The idea is to share concerns and look for ways to make things better. In its Dialogue to Change process, Everyday Democracy places a great deal of importance to using a “racial equity lens” at every stage of the process to ensure inclusiveness and that outcomes do not perpetuate or create new, but rather remove existing, disparities.

A trained facilitator drawn from the community helps the group focus on different views and makes sure the discussion goes well and that participants contribute action ideas. In a large-scale (or community-wide) dialogue program, people all over a neighborhood, city, county, school district or region participate in such dialogues over the same period of time. At the end of the dialogue rounds, participants come together in a large community meeting to work together on the action ideas that emerged from the dialogues.

Use Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process when: There is a need or desire to empower community members to solve complicated problems and take responsibility for the solutions.

Topics suited for this model: Community issues such as racism, violence, regional sprawl, and more. Any issue where community members need to be part of crafting a solution.

Why we chose this model: This approach brings together people both in smaller study circles, as well as in larger community gatherings. It's well suited for larger communities who need both the in-depth conversations in a smaller group and the larger community engagement to talk about ideas emerging from the smaller groups. It aims to result in action and change efforts

Explore our free Everyday Democracy learning sessions and resources

The World CafeWorld Cafés enable groups of people to participate together in evolving rounds of dialogue while at the same time remaining part of a single, larger, connected conversation. Small, intimate conversations link and build on each other as people move between groups, cross-pollinate ideas and discover new insights into questions or issues that really matter in their life, work or community. World Café-style conversations are a creative process for leading collaborative dialogue, sharing knowledge and creating possibilities for action in groups of all sizes.

In a World Café, participants sit four or five to a table and have a series of conversational rounds about a question that is personally meaningful to them. After several rounds, each table reports out their themes, insights and learning to the whole group, where it is captured on flip charts or other means for making it visible, allowing everyone to reflect on what is emerging in the room.

Use World Café when: You want to encourage exploration of a topic, exploration of participants’ own views and experiences as well as the experiences of others, and/or to explore and develop innovative ideas and solutions.

Topics suited for this model: A whole range of topics can be adapted to a World Café process. You can explore topics important to your community, such as immigration and community building, religion, as well as planning issues, land use and more.

Why we chose this model: This collaborative dialogue method brings together smaller and larger groups of people in a series of small, conversational rounds. This allows for a larger community to engage at once together, but also in-depth among community members. It can be used for a variety of inquiries, topics or issues.

Explore our free World Café learning sessions and resources


These resources are offered as part of Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Models for Change, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) and National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) that seeks to strengthen libraries' roles as core community leaders and agents of change. LTC: Models for Change is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). 

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Get started with the free e-course, "Libraries Transforming Communities: Facilitation Skills for Small and Rural Libraries."

LTC: Accessible Small and Rural Communities will offer more than $7 million in grants to better serve people with disabilities.

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Learn basic facilitation skills with ALA's free guide, "Leading Conversations in Small and Rural Libraries."