Libraries Tackle the Hardest Issues Head on

Through its collaboration with the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, the American Library Association arms libraries with critical skills

by Rebecca Joy NorlanderNicole LaMarcaKate Flinner
Nov 2, 2018

Key Findings

Libraries are increasingly becoming places where people can meet up and talk about important community issues. But how do libraries determine what those issues are in the first place? And what happens when people disagree about how to address the collective problems or challenges they face? Enter Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change, a professional development training program to help library staff identify tactics for effective engagement. Not every library is the same - large urban systems face different issues than those serving small rural communities. A range of models meets a range of needs. This report presents positive changes that library staff have witnessed as a result of hosting community dialogues, and discusses what those staff members have learned along the way.

Let’s Put It to Work

For Library Staff & Administrators This report should be used alongside ALA’s resource website for the Libraries Transforming Communities initiative - where you can find free webinars offering professional development opportunities. Each of the different models is succinctly described on the site - find the one that works for you!

For library patrons Do you want to make a difference in your community? See if your local library would be interested in hosting an event to bring people together. This report describes how libraries and their communities can benefit from dialogue - but only if library patrons speak up!

Join the Conversation
What did you think of this? How did you use it? Is there something else we should be thinking of?
Support research that has a real world impact.