New ALA/Harwood Library Tools Released

ALA, Harwood Institute release new tools to help libraries lead positive community change

For Immediate Release Fri, 08/14/2015


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office


CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA), in partnership with The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, has released three new tools to help libraries engage their communities, focus efforts where they are needed most and lead positive community change.The tools are the final pieces of a set of community engagement resources created for libraries as part of ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative. Taken together, the collection — which includes worksheets, conversation guides and webinars — teaches libraries to “turn outward,” making their communities the reference point for the libraries’ work.The new tools are designed for libraries that already have been putting the “turning outward” approach to use, or those that have attended a Harwood Institute training or orientation.

  • “Making It Stick with Staff” is a discussion guide to help libraries reflect on their changing outlook and make the “turning outward” approach part of their everyday work.
  • “Making Meaning of Data” helps libraries make sense of data about library usage and activity and use that information to create programs that better serves the community’s needs.
  • “Tracking Your Progress” provides a visual representation of the “turning outward” approach to help libraries visualize where they have been and where they are going next.

Deborah McCullough, deputy director of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County in Ohio, said the “Making It Stick with Staff” tool helped facilitate teamwork among her staff.“‘Making It Stick with Staff’ was a great way to get staff to talk — and everyone participated! —about what the library has done to implement change,” McCullough said. “The questions were practical and specifically designed to keep the conversation going, and yet allowed for reflection and analysis.”

Read more here.