Community Conversations in the Library is a program that reflects the potential inherent in public libraries. Each of the 38 member libraries represent an opportunity for all members of a community to come together for an informed exploration of topics that are challenging and highly relevant. They are designed to provide a space for learning and engagement. Libraries are staffed by people who are professionally dedicated to the informed functioning of our democracy, which results in dedication to the delivery of accessible, responsive services.
Accordingly, WLS’s goals for Community Conversations in the Library are:
- Community education providing an informed context for exploring current issues.
- Dialog with experts and community members that models a thoughtful engagement with diverse perspectives.
- Awareness of opportunities for action, from ongoing learning to active support of an issue or project.
Community Conversations – Harwood-style. The Harwood Institute is the go-to place for people and organizations looking for ways to fight against the negative conditions stifling progress in society. They teach and coach people from all walks of life how to move society forward by building stronger communities, bridging divides and creating a culture of shared responsibility. Unlike other groups that support communities, they get to the core of what it takes to create real progress and change. They give people who feel stuck a renewed sense of hope and a real path forward.
Tools from The Harwood Institute have been used by many communities to change the conversation and move forward to shared action.
A sample of The Harwood Institute’s tools are posted below. For a deeper dive, explore their website. The site includes case studies, podcasts, and links to more information and inspiration for change.
The Harwood Institute informs the Westchester Library System’s Community Conversations project. If you’d like to ask about how we use these tools and discuss their application to your organization or community, just Ask Us.
- Intentionality – Six questions to ask yourself to stay focused on impact
- The Turn Quiz
- Aspirations Facilitators Guide / Group Handout
- Ask Exercise
- Strategic Planning – a model for integrating essential community input and data into your planning process
- Tools for Stepping Forward – Selected resources shared at the WLS Annual Meeting, 11/21, 2019
- Harwood, Rich. “Putting Collective Impact to Work.” Stanford Social Innovation Review, April 7, 2014.