Downloads and uptake of the Aspen Institute Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library have soared since the release of the original guide in January 2016. On the LibraryVision.org website alone, there have been over 2,800 downloads of the Action Guide and it has reached professionals in more than 27 countries. In response to outreach and communication with our community of practice, we released a new and improved Action Guide, Version 2.0. and a companion Facilitator’s Guide. The Action Guide 2.0 streamlines and reorganizes content and activities into three main module or pathways (Learning Pathway, Leading Pathway and Implementing Pathway) for easier use and customization. With the ongoing deployment of the vision framework across the country, we designed the Facilitator’s Guide for library staff or facilitators engaged in professional development, community engagement and strategic planning. We continued to work with state libraries, associations and other professional groups to advance the Aspen Institute framework through workshops and training sessions aimed at strengthening the capacity of local library leaders to engage more often and effectively with other community leaders.
With signature events in Denver and Houston this year, the Aspen Institute Dialogue completed a series of model community-library dialogues. The Aspen Institute Colorado Dialogue on Public Libraries took place in Denver, CO in May, in partnership with the Colorado State Library. The Colorado Dialogue featured a conversation on libraries with Gov. John Hickenlooper and an engaged conversation among local and state leaders that has led to the development of new partnerships and additional engagement with libraries across the state.
The Houston Dialogue on Public Libraries, held in partnership with the Houston Public Library, took place in November after rescheduling was required from the original September dates due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey. The dialogue featured a press conference with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. As part of preparation for the November event, the Aspen Institute convened a hurricane response and recovery conversation at the Houston Public Library among city government, nonprofit and business leaders on September 14 as an opportunity to discuss the needs and priorities that would shape the full Houston Dialogue later in the fall.
Both the Colorado and Houston Dialogues included opening presentations on innovative library services, a moderated roundtable and break-out sessions with government, nonprofit, education, business and library leaders. Reports of these dialogues, including recommendations of the participants and activities underway since the dialogues convened, will be released in early 2018, even as activities led by the dialogue partners are already underway in each locale
Over the past three years, we have convened the Connecticut Dialogue on Public Libraries, the Winter Park (FL) Library Dialogue, the Sutter County (CA) Dialogue on Public Libraries, the Aspen Institute Colorado Dialogue on Public Libraries, and the Houston Dialogue on Public Libraries, representing a variety of models for engaging state and local leaders and community partners to advance new thinking about the role of public libraries. Participants from these dialogues continue to work to implement strategies and action steps identified in their respective reports with leadership from the library partners in each community. Visit http://www.libraryvision.org/models to learn more about the models and to download resources and templates that were used in each community. (Note: We released the report of the Sutter County Dialogue on Public Libraries earlier this year.)
The Communications and Society Program would like to extend our thanks to the Dialogue’s fellow Susan Hildreth, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the University of Washington School of Information, to Dialogue advisor Maureen Sullivan, and to other Dialogue ambassadors who brought the Dialogue vision and resources to a diverse group of audiences in the US and abroad throughout the year.
We invite you to join the Library Vision community at http://www.libraryvision.org/ where we will be inviting and sharing stories and resources that re-envision the public library.