Community and Civic Engagement: The Library’s Role as Connector

Course Instructor:  Jane Salisbury 

Community and Civic Engagement: The Library’s Role as Connector

Are you looking for new ways to connect your library with your community? Do you want to promote community discourse and build capacity for civic engagement? Connecting people to each other and to local government is a traditional role of libraries that is expanding in new ways. Creative programs and partnerships bring people together, both face-to-face and online. Community one-book reading programs, citizenship and civics programs, Facebook and Twitter campaigns, literacy programs and library participation in local community events, among other efforts, establish the library as a vital connector in its community.

This course will inform and support you in your efforts to form community partnerships and to enhance civic life in your community. Together we’ll explore:

  • Community and civic engagement as concepts: what they are and why they are important to libraries
  • How government, non-profits and libraries can build useful and innovative relationships
  • Assessing local interests and needs
  • Targeting specific groups in your community
  • Public forums in libraries: how to handle hot topics and reach consensus

February 14, 2014 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities

The American Library Association’s The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities is a groundbreaking libraries-as-change-agents initiative. ALA has partnered with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation to provide librarians with the tools and training they need to lead community engagement and innovation.

The Harwood Institute has a clearly articulated vision of “turning outward,”  supported by a tested practice rooted in community conversation and ownership that emphasizes shifting the institutional and professional orientation of libraries and librarians from internal to external.

December 19, 2013 at 3:13 am Leave a comment

Miami-Dade Library Victory Demonstrates Community Support


Advocacy and community building.

September 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm Leave a comment



This webinar  explores  strategies for libraries to identify ACA resources, hear from libraries that are working to prepare for patron requests, and obtain key policy and resource updates from ACA experts. Go here for archive:

KOO here for: Health  Reform-Subsidy Calculator

Role of Libraries

ALA Policy B.8.11, The Role of Libraries in Providing E-Government and Emergency Services (Old Number 50.16), states:

The American Library Association urges governments at all levels to acknowledge and support the essential role local libraries play in providing e-government and emergency response/recovery services, and to include libraries in relevant legislative or other policy actions. The American Library Association also encourages continued research documenting library needs and capacity to provide effective e-government and emergency response/recovery services, and help libraries develop best practices and train staff to deliver these essential services.

At the 2013 ALA Annual Conference, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced a collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and WebJunction, a program of OCLC, to assure that librarians have the information and connections with local experts needed to connect their patrons to information about the Health Insurance Marketplace when open enrollment begins October 1, 2013.

Also at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference, the ALA Washington Office presented a panel presentation, “Libraries and Health Insurance: Preparing for Oct 1,” with representatives from IMLS, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, OCLC WebJunction, and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), to present plans for making resources broadly available. The session was recorded; information on availability will be announced through the Washington Office’s District Dispatch

American Library Association (ALA) President Barbara Stripling issued a statement about libraries and the Affordable Care Act.

Additional news items and blog posts

Even more news: follow hashtag #libs4health on Twitter.

September 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

A Vision for the Public Library of the Future-


A Vision for the Public Library of the Future-August 2013

By Susan Hildreth Director, IMLS

How is the traditional role of the public library changing in the digital age?  How will the ever-present digital disruption impact the role of public libraries in their communities?  What is the 21st century learning ecology and what role can libraries play?  Public libraries have always been involved in civic ecology but what will that look like in the digital world?   Many new service paradigms were posed— the challenge is to determine the responses! – See more at:


September 7, 2013 at 12:12 pm Leave a comment

Creating a Community Where Knowledge Grows

The Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, Wash. focuses on the needs of its community. Through focus groups and opinion surveys, the library system implements programs that the community deems important. This is how the Pierce County Library System has become a leader in early childhood literacy. Because the first five years are the most important in childhood development, Executive Director Neel Parikh believes that the library has an opportunity to make a difference by helping parents and caregivers understand early literacy. – See more at:

August 27, 2013 at 7:18 pm Leave a comment

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