You’re invited: Building Community in Today’s World
Thursday, April 4, 7 pm, Main Library Veterans Room
Rich Harwood, president and founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and creator of the turning outward practice, will visit Oak Park as part of his yearlong multi-city tour to speak about how communities can get on that more hopeful path.
At the keynote speech, questions addressed will include:
- How do we bring people together when it feels like our society is breaking apart?
- How can we unleash a greater sense of shared responsibility among us?
- How can we be a part of something larger than ourselves to truly make a difference in our communities?
- How can we personally find the courage and humility to take such a path?
“People are looking for a trusted voice who can provide a clear path for how to channel their frustrations, energies and aspirations to get on a more hopeful trajectory. We will need to be ruthless in our pursuit of hope in order to rediscover what we share in common and actively build upon it.”—Rich Harwood
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.
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, learned and acted on feedback 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