Oak Park Public Library Case Study

How do we engage with our community in a more meaningful way? How do we make the user experience the center of all we do? What impact are we having and how do we measure it? In an effort to better answer those questions and make a tighter connection between library objectives and the broader needs of the community, the Oak Park Public Library embarked on a journey to “turn outward.” Following the Harwood model for community engagement, Oak Park has made strides in unifying its internal operations and strengthening strategic partnerships. Its intention is wider and deeper community impact.

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About my Harwood Experience: From Sit-Ins to Conversations

I didn’t expect to cry when I stood up in front of 125 people in Atlanta, Georgia last week. It wasn’t until I was handed the microphone and opened my mouth to speak that I realized that tears were trying to spring forth. I had to pause to stop the croak of sobbing which tried to come from my throat. I had to pause several times. I want to cry now as I am writing this to you—to you, my community. 

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Taking Action from Your Sphere of Influence

An important ingredient to creating impact is being clear about your sphere of influence and taking action from it. Seems obvious, right? What we find is that there are many people in communities that lack the capacity for grand plans and that there are even more people ready to make a difference but are not in positions to drive such plans. The solution to this is to take action from your sphere of influence.

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