Community Stories

The Potential of the Public Library

Posted by Gina Millsap on March 08, 2017 at 2:33 PM

The Topeka Shawnee County Public Library (TSCPL) in Topeka, Kansas incorporated elements from the Rising to the Challenge vision report in a series of community conversations in the spring and summer of 2015. The conversations were co-convened with Heartland Visioning, a multi-year initiative that provides a community-wide forum to give voice to resident’s concerns and aspirations, verify community priorities, convene public and private partnerships and communicate with the public. The library used these community engagement events to seek community input as part of the library’s strategic planning process.

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A Better Understanding of Our Role in the 21st Century

Posted by JoAnn LoRusso on March 08, 2017 at 2:30 PM

The Middlebury Public Library is located in a small to medium size suburban town in Middlebury, CT.  Our population is 7,575 and our budget consists of 1.4% of tax allocation and is shrinking. The Middlebury Public Library is staffed by four full-time and four part-time employees and volunteers. We are a stand-alone library that relies on our State Library for additional support.

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The Quintessential Third Space: The Library as An Anchor in the Community

Posted by Cindy Fesemyer on March 08, 2017 at 2:27 PM

The Columbus Public Library in Wisconsin is a small city of about 5,000 people. The library serves an additional 10,000 people from rural areas around our small city. We have deep historical roots in agriculture and manufacturing. We are quickly becoming a bedroom town for neighboring Madison, home of the State Capitol and University of Wisconsin- Madison and need to serve the needs of this more modern, innovative population, as well.

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No Shortage of Ideas or People to Express Them: Starting Conversations

Posted by James Ochsner on March 08, 2017 at 2:25 PM

Sutter County Library, Yuba City, CA

The Action Guide really helped to get the conversation started as the Sutter County Library is just beginning plans to expand services to a community that relies heavily on an agricultural based economy. The community has often struggled with higher than average unemployment but enjoys a rich cultural heritage and a naturally beautiful environment. Many immigrants from Mexico, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan use the library’s Literacy Services classes as a resource for learning English, gaining citizenship, computer proficiency and accessing information. These classes have become a platform for adult learners and new citizens to form friendships that cross many national and cultural boundaries. Countless residents have been bringing their children to the library for generations. Students and job seekers are also regular users of services. Locally, the library has a fine reputation but there is still work to be done.

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Improving and Expanding Conversations in the Community for Youth

Posted by Shelley Walchak on March 08, 2017 at 2:23 PM

Pine River Public Library, Pine River, CO

The Pine River Public Library is located in rural, Southwest Colorado, 20 miles east of Durango. The library district serves over 1,800 people in the small town of Bayfield plus an additional 6,500 in the surrounding areas.

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Developing Relationships with Partners Across the City

Posted by Dara Schmidt on March 08, 2017 at 2:20 PM

Cedar Rapids Public Library, Cedar Rapids, IA

The Cedar Rapids Public Library serves a population of around 128,000, the second largest city in Iowa. We began the pilot project with the Action Guide as we embarked on putting a tax levy before our voters for library support. The Action Guide helped us identify our stakeholders and develop relationships with partners across the city. As the tax levy was defeated, we were able to use the SOAR exercise to help staff and trustees focus on the future of the library. 

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Making Strides to Reach Our Collective Aspirations

Posted by Richard Kong on March 07, 2017 at 4:05 PM

Skokie Public Library, Skokie, IL

Skokie, IL is a vibrant urban/suburban community on Chicago’s north side with a uniquely diverse population hovering around 65,000.  Approximately 43% of the population was born outside of the United States, and over 90 different languages are spoken throughout the community.

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Developing a Broad Foundation of Community Engagement

Posted by Rubi Simon on March 07, 2017 at 4:01 PM

Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT

Fletcher Free Library (FFL) serves the small city of Burlington, Vermont located on eastern shore of Lake Champlain an hour of the Canadian border. Burlington is Vermont’s most populous city and the state’s economic center. Burlington’s population remains relatively stable at approximately 45,000, however our demographics are ever-changing.

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A One Stop Reference Point for Those Who Are In Need Of Local Resources

Posted by Gretchen Pruett on March 07, 2017 at 3:59 PM

New Braunfels Public Library, New Braunfels, TX

Working through the exercises in the Action Guide was so much more beneficial than we originally believed possible. We identified several new issues in two main areas - services to patrons groups that had not previously been identified, i.e. - the resource challenged patrons and services to patron groups that we had identified and addressed but through change were no longer being served as well, i.e. - employment seekers.

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