Our library embraces a “turning outward” approach, an intentional process for listening to and learning about our community. It also means we make the choice to ground library work in the community’s shared aspirations.
What kind of community do you want to live in?
How do we learn about community aspirations? We start with a single question.
Thank you for “Building Community in Today’s World”
More than 100 community members, Oak Park stakeholders, and public library staff attended sessions with Rich Harwood, president and founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and creator of the turning outward practice. On Thursday, April 4, and Friday, April 5, we all had an incredible two days of learning.
Since 2014, we have turned outward, listening, learning, and acting on feedback from library patrons, governmental peers, and community members and partners.
Oak Parkers have shared their hopes, dreams, and emerging concerns. Through continued conversations and detailed mind map analysis, common themes for Oak Park are:
- Equity & Education
- Housing & Affordability
- Community Empathy
- Civic & Social Engagement
- Public Safety
- Narratives around Community Progress
Aspirations in action
Community is at the heart of all we do. Executive Director David J. Seleb explains in this video by The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation »
The library uses public knowledge about community aspirations to guide our everyday work through our strategic plan. Here are a few more specific examples of library work inspired by community aspirations:
- Pursuing collaborative opportunities identified in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Community Building Blocks recommendations report.
- Hired a social worker and built a safety and security team to serve our most vulnerable patrons.
- Adopted and are now curating a multicultural collection for encouraging empathy and developing global citizens.
- Addressed equity and increased access by removing overdue fines and fees for nonprofit rental of meeting spaces.
- Created a new strategic plan prioritizing engagement, learning, and stewardship.
- Revised the library’s vision to empower every voice in our community.
- Updated the library’s mission to share information, services, and opportunities that fulfill those aspirations.
- Unified internal operations and strengthened strategic partnerships for wider and deeper community impact.
Host a conversation, become a public innovator
Contact Executive Director David J. Seleb, 708.697.6911, firstname.lastname@example.org.