“Turning outward is when we make our community the reference point for everything we do. Not our conference room.” – Rich Harwood
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.
How do we learn about community aspirations?
We start with a single question: what kind of community do you want it live in?
Since 2014, we have listened and learned from library patrons, governmental peers, and community members and partners. Most recently, in the fall of 2017 and the spring of 2018, more than 200 people shared their hopes, dreams, and emerging concerns. Through mind map analysis, six common themes emerged:
- Community Empathy
- Civic Engagement
- Inclusion & Equity
- Community Progress
To learn more about how our community is at the heart of all we do, watch this video by The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation »