Michael Casey on Harwood Institute’s Innovators Lab for Libraries


Don’t miss Michael Casey’s piece at LJ:

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2015/01/shows-events/inside-the-harwood-institutes-innovators-lab-for-libraries/

The idea of asking people about their aspirations (“what kind of community do you want to live in?”) consumed much of the first day of training. Students participated in exercises designed to help them better understand the powerful responses that result from simply asking somebody about their dreams for the community. These conversations help the library focus outward and better understand the rhythms of the local community, gaining a wealth of public knowledge for the library.

In one of the first exercises, students broke off into small groups to examine the “stages of community life,” seeking to identify what stage of change each local community is in at the moment. This would influence the library’s course of action, as some stages are more amenable than others to major efforts for change. Librarians can then tailor their actions appropriately. Interestingly, determining this is not done through surveying but via conversations. A lot of discussion resulted from this community self-examination, and students frequently determined that different parts of their communities were in different stages of “community life.”