Conversations in the Library: Getting Started


Introduction Video: Learning To Facilitate Conversations

Types of Coversations

When you think about discussions in the library, what do you picture? The spectrum of types of conversations that can be facilitated in the library is much wider than many people think.

Conversations in the library can include:

  • Book clubs
  • Film viewing and discussions
  • Teen anime/manga clubs
  • Panel discussions
  • Storytimes
  • Coffee and conversation programs
  • Town hall-style conversations to discuss local issues
  • Political candidate forums
  • Planning meetings with library partners
  • Strategic planning meetings
  • Meetings with library board and/or town leadership
  • Library staff meetings and workshops

What are the benefits of facilitated conversations in the library?

Watch the following video to hear library workers share their experience as facilitators:

How might your community benefit from facilitated conversations?

Being a Facilitator

Background of a diverse group of individuals seated in a circle engaged in conversation. White text over the image reading "a facilitator helps a group of people understand their common objectives, share their opinions, and sometimes work toward action."

Some questions to ponder:

  • What is involved in the role of the facilitator?
  • What is your job when you are leading the discussion?
  • What is not your job?

Download this flyer to use as a resource on determining what a facilitator IS and IS NOT.

Advice for New Facilitators

There is no one way to facilitate a conversation, and those that have done it usually develop some helpful approaches. Watch the video below to hear advice from library workers. What advice is most helpful to you?

Conversation Facilitation Resources

Conversations in the library can vary greatly, from clubs or group discussions to community decision-making and action planning. No matter the subject or the goal, having a facilitator to lead participants through the conversation is of great benefit and is a role library professionals already find themselves in. As a facilitator, you will help participants explore a topic, gain better understanding of one another, and even find areas of common ground. Keep the following resources with you as you continue to learn.