The Harwood Institute in The Daily Northwestern

Library hosts series of public innovation meetings
Julian Gerez
May 28, 2014

The Evanston Public Library hosted a series of community conversations in May to explore shared aspirations for the city from residents.

Community engagement librarian Jill Skwerski, who is helping lead the initiative in Evanston, said some of the issues that have been discussed so far include the safety of the community, making sure every kid is getting opportunities for success and making Evanston a welcoming place for everybody.

EPL is using strategies and philosophy from The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, an independent nonprofit that “helps people and organizations address community challenges, improve their own effectiveness and do their work in a way that makes communities stronger,” according to its website.

Skwerski said these conversations are only the beginning in the process of informing how the city can provide services to its residents.

“What we’re trying to get at is what kind of community people want to live in and how that is different than the way things are now and what barriers do they see that’s preventing them from doing the work needed to create the community that they want,” she said. “This is the launching point, we try and delve into those issues and try to get people to speak sincerely about these things.”

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