Dialogue Models

Models

The Aspen Institute’s Dialogue on Public Libraries is focused on advancing the work that public libraries are doing to address community challenges and to transform for the digital age. As part of its work, between 2016 and 2017, the Aspen Institute will convene dialogues in cities across the country. Each public dialogue will test and develop a variety of models for engaging state and local leaders and community partners to advance new thinking about the role of public libraries. 

Click on a Dialogue Model in the left panel.

Winter Park Library Dialogue
Winter Park, FL

Winter Park Library Dialogue
Winter Park, FL

Introduction

The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries convened the Winter Park Library Dialogue in partnership with the Winter Park Public Library in Winter Park, Florida, on June 8-9, 2016. A model for other communities, the Winter Park Library Dialogue was designed to explore and advance the alignment of the public library’s programs, services and resources with the goals, priorities and aspirations of the community. The dialogue agenda drove toward actionable recommendations that addressed opportunities to leverage new and existing partnerships with the purpose of creating and delivering services and experiences for library users and the community as a whole.


About Winter Park, Florida


Community Type: Suburban Village | Population: 27,852 (2010 US Census) White 86%, Black or African American 8%, Asian 3%, Hispanic or Latino 10%, American Indian or Alaskan Native 1% and Other 3% |  Median Age: 42.7 | Household Income: $59,000 | Poverty: 12.4% of Individuals have incomes below the poverty level | Educational Attainment: 94.8% High School Graduate or Higher | Unemployment:4%


About the Winter Park Public Library

The Winter Park Public Library (WPPL) is a single branch library serving the residents of Winter Park as well as students, workers and others who spend time in the city or travel through on the Florida Sun Rail system. The WPPL is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization led by Executive Director Shawn Shaffer and a 24 member Board of Trustees. WPPL receives approximately one third of its annual funding from a city grant and must raise the rest of its funding from other sources.

While the library offers a robust array of services, the physical space--a three-story brick building constructed in the late 1970s and expanded in the early 1990s--has become overcrowded and outdated. WPPL is currently located within walking distance of city hall and the city’s shopping and restaurant core, but plans are underway to construct a combined library-civic center space inside 23-acre Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, a 3-minute drive from the city core. The decision to build a new library was made following a comprehensive investigation by a city commission appointed task force to explore whether to remodel, rebuild on the existing site or find a new location. More than two years and eight public forums later, the task force’s work culminated in the narrow passage of a March 2016 $30 million bond referendum to build a combined new library, event space and parking garage on the site of the city’s current civic center.


Winter Park Dialogue Format

The Winter Park Library Dialogue included a public program held on a Wednesday evening from 5:30-7:00 pm and a one-day moderated leadership roundtable.

Public Forum: The public forum took place at the local University Club and featured two keynote presentations, a panel discussion and Q&A with the approximately 70 members of the public in attendance. The keynote speakers were Richard Adler, president of People & Technology based in Palo Alto, California, and a distinguished fellow at the Institute for the Future, and John Bracken, vice president for media innovation at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation headquartered in Miami. Their complementary presentations placed libraries within the context of a continuously changing environment in which technology is becoming smaller, cheaper, and more mobile and continues to shape the work of libraries. The purpose of the public forum was to provide an opportunity for engaging the broader public in the Dialogue process and to present the ideas of stimulating speakers from outside the area to inform, educate and motivate new thinking about technology, community and the role of the library.

Leadership Roundtable: The following day, 26 participants including civic leaders, city officials, educators, business leaders and library leaders convened at the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center for a moderated roundtable dialogue. The roundtable discussion addressed four key questions:

1. What kind of community do we want?

2. What changes are necessary to make this vision a reality?

3. How can the Winter Park Public Library help bring about this transition?

4. How can other stakeholders in the community engage and collaborate with the library to transform the library and strengthen the community, now and in the years ahead?

Break-out Sessions: The break-out groups aligned with the three sets of Action Steps in the Rising to the Challenge report – Library Leaders, Policymakers and Community Partners. Using the Action Steps lists in Rising to the Challenge as a guide, each group was asked to identify up to three priority action steps for this particular group (library, policymakers, community partners). Participants were asked to focus on action steps oriented to the development of partnerships and connecting different sectors across the community, and the answer the following questions: What will it take to make these recommendations a reality? Who needs to do what? What additional resources need to be brought in, in order to advance these action steps?


Participants in the Leadership Roundtable

Larry Adams, Principal, ACi Architects

Richard Adler, President, People & Technology and Fellow, Institute for the Future (Palo Alto, CA)

Jeffrey Blydenburgh, President, Jeffrey Blydenburgh Architect and Vice Chairman, Vision Winter Park Steering Committee

Audra Bussey, Educational Consultant, Public Libraries, Cengage Learning

Daniel Butts, Chief Operating Officer, Battaglia Group Management, LLC

Julian Chambliss, Department Chair and Professor of United States History, Rollins College                 

Ali DeMaria, Executive Director, Winter Park Day Nursery             

Michael English, Senior Vice President, Customer Contact Centers & Electronic Distribution, Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Amy Garmer, Director, Dialogue on Public Libraries, The Aspen Institute (Washington, DC)

John Gill, President & CEO, Quest and Chairman,Vision Winter Park Steering Committee

Ken Goldstone, Chief Operating Officer, Full Sail University

Norman Jacknis, President, Metropolitan New York Library Council and Adjunct Professor, Columbia University (New York, New York)

Stacey Johnson, President, East Campus, Valencia College

Randy Knight, City Manager, City of Winter Park

Steve Leary, Mayor, City of Winter Park

Patricia Maddox, President and CEO, Winter Park Health Foundation

Micki Meyer, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Rollins College

Ronnie Moore, Assistant Director, Parks and Recreation, City of Winter Park

Marina Nice, Client Advisor, SunTrust and Chair of the Board, Winter Park Public Library

David A. Odahowski, President & CEO, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation

Shawn Shaffer, Executive Director, Winter Park Public Library

Sarah Sprinkel, Elementary Director, Florida Virtual School and Commissioner, City of Winter Park

Maureen Sullivan, Library Consultant and 2013-2014 President, American Library Association 

Maria Vazquez, Area Superintendent Orange County Public Schools

Julie VonWeller, PTO President, All Saints School

Chip Weston, Owner, Chip Weston Studios


Key Issues & Themes

See Winter Park Rising to the Challenge, the Report of the Winter Park Library Dialogue for complete report.

The following were key themes raised and discussed during the Winter Park Library Dialogue: technology and continuous change, stewardship and sustainability, education and learning, and the library as a place for people to connect and discover new ideas and pursuits.

After identifying goals and priorities for the community (questions 1 & 2 noted above), participants identified the following roles, attributes and functions for the WPPL, some of which the library already performs and provides, and others that will require adaptation, transformation and new competencies at the library:

  • A safe, neutral space for active listening and passionate dialogue
  • A center for lifelong learning
  • A maker space and resource for workforce development
  • An asset to help individuals and families in the community “recentralize”
  • Human-centered, accessible and wired
  • Providing connectivity
  • Transcending tomorrow’s digital divide
  • Supporting digital citizenship
  • Offering student maker spaces
  • Acting as the community’s “orchestrator of learning”
  • Consulting with users
  • Adult learning

Key Recommendations

The following are the key recommendations made by the leadership roundtable:

  • Recommendation #1: Create and communicate a new vision for the Winter Park Public Library.
  • Recommendation #2: Define the public library as a community priority and implement activities that demonstrate this priority role.
  • Recommendation #3: Bring diverse expertise and financial and sustainable resources to partner with the library.
  • Recommendation #4: Brand the library as a platform for community learning and development, collaborate with users, and define the scope of library program and strategies.

Ongoing Efforts

The following are some of the ongoing efforts and activities underway in Winter Park following the Winter Park Library Dialogue:

  • Develop and strengthen education partnerships by convening an educators’ roundtable. Initial roundtable of educators from across the city convened at Valencia College on February 1, 2017.
  • Develop and strengthen business and philanthropic partnerships. Library and Chamber of Commerce working to set a date for a roundtable discussion.
  • Develop partnerships with the technology sector.
  • Attention to priority populations in the community.
  • Develop health and wellness partnerships. Working with the Winter Park Health Foundation, city departments, and others.

 Winter Park Library Dialogue Group Photo

wpp_ob_160609_18029_1_.jpg


Materials and Document Database

Winter Park Rising to the Challenge

Richard Adler Presentation, June 8, 2016

John Bracken Presentation, June 8, 2016 

Winter Park Library Dialogue Photos

*Other materials can be found in the Resources section.

Sutter County Dialogue on Public Libraries
Yuba City, California

Sutter County Dialogue on Public Libraries
Yuba City, California

Introduction

In partnership with the Sutter County Library, the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries convened a countywide, multi-stakeholder forum on public libraries in Yuba City, California, on November 16-17, 2016. The Sutter County Dialogue on Public Libraries was designed to address the strategic opportunities presented by the changing role of public libraries and to showcase models through which civic, government, business, education, and other community leaders working together can leverage libraries as platforms for building more knowledgeable, healthy, and sustainable communities.


About Sutter County, California


Community Type: Rural County | Population: 96,463 (2010 US Census) White 50.4%, Black or African American 2%, Asian 14.4%, Hispanic or Latino 28.8%, American Indian or Alaskan Native 1.4% and Other 5.9% | Median Age: 34 | Household Income: $52,000 | Educational Attainment: 78.5% High School Graduates or Higher | Poverty: 17.5% of individuals have incomes below the poverty level | Unemployment: 8%


About the Sutter County Library

The Sutter County Library is a department of county government. It provides library services to all residents of Yuba City and Sutter County through four branches: a main branch in Yuba City and three branches in the rural communities of Live Oak (Barber Branch), Rio Oso (Browns Branch), and Sutter (Sutter Branch). The library is led by Library Director James Ochsner and a small, dedicated staff with additional volunteers. Ochsner is currently the only staff member with a Master’s of Library Information Science (MLIS) degree. As a department of county government, the library’s funding comes primarily from county general revenues. Currently, the Sutter County Library has a small but active Friends group that supports the library in many ways, including the management of used book sales at the library. In January 2016, the library entered the era of high-speed broadband when it connected to the state’s CENIC (Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California) network. This service has enabled the library to offer a more robust online platform and to think about new opportunities and innovations that can be created for residents now that the library is equipped with a gigabit of bandwidth.


Sutter County Dialogue Format

The Sutter County Dialogue included a series of community engagement workshops, a survey of library use and satisfaction, an evening program featuring a keynote presentation, and a one-day moderated leadership roundtable.

Community Engagement Workshops and Library Survey: The Sutter County Library conducted a series of community planning workshops prior to the November Dialogue event and augmented these workshops with a paper and online-based survey of library users. The goal of both the workshops and the survey was to engage county residents more broadly and hear directly from them about their aspirations, priorities, and goals for the county. The library developed the workshops in consultation with the Aspen Institute and drew from Sacramento Public Library for assistance with skilled facilitation. A total of four workshops were held from late September through early November. Each workshop sought to engage a different segment of the population, including youth, a racially and ethnically diverse group of residents, residents with deep roots in the community and residents highly engaged with Sutter County’s cultural institutions.  

Public Program: The Dialogue began with a public program at Boyd Hall (a public auditorium operated by the Sutter County schools) on a Wednesday evening from 5:30-7:00 pm that was open to the public and featured a keynote speaker and Q&A among participants and the audience. The keynote speaker was Norman Jacknis, PhD, a technologist with deep experience in local government and libraries who currently serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia University in New York, as president of the Metro New York Library Council, and as a senior fellow at the Intelligent Community Forum where he has led the forum’s Rural Imperative, working with communities to develop future-oriented economic growth strategies. In his keynote presentation to the Sutter County Dialogue, Jacknis presented seven trends in technology that are opening up corresponding opportunities for communities and their libraries. He emphasized that libraries do not exist in isolation from the rest of the world and they need to lay the foundation now for where they need to be in the future. The purpose of the public program was to lay a foundation for discussion of opportunities and aspirations at the leadership roundtable the next day by bring in new ideas from an expert on technology and rural communities.

Leadership Roundtable: The following day, 24 leaders from across the county and the state addressed four key questions:

  1. What kind of community do we want?
  2. What changes are necessary to make this vision a reality?
  3. How can the Sutter County Library help to bring about this transition and achieve this vision?
  4. How can other stakeholders in the community engage and collaborate with the library to transform the library and strengthen the community, now and in the years ahead?

Break-out Sessions: The break-out groups focused on three sets of issues that were identified as priorities for the County: Youth and Education, Economic and Workforce Development, Civic and Social Development. Participants were asked to draw from the morning discussion and trends identified in the keynote “to identify 1-2 opportunities (proposals) to strengthen the healthy and vitality of the community in the assigned area.” Each group was to answer the following questions:

  • What trends could work in your favor?
  • What kind of change is needed to make this happen? Consider what assets already exist in the community and how they may be used in new ways?
  • What role could the library play in bringing about the change?
  • Who needs to be involved to make it happen?
  • What key results would be achieved? How would you measure success?

Participants in the Leadership Roundtable

Joaquin Alvarado, Chief Executive Officer, The Center for Investigative Reporting (San Francisco, California)

Rinky Basi, Director, Sutter County One Stop

Michele Blake, Director, Sutter County Children & Families Commission 

Curtis R. Coad, Interim County Administrator, Sutter County Government Office

Tammy Cronin, Project Leader, Valley Vision (Sacramento, California)

Baljinder Dhillon, Superintendent, Sutter County Superintendent of Schools

Dan Flores, Supervisor, Sutter County Board of Supervisors 

Darin Gale, Economic Growth & Public Affairs , City of Yuba City

Ernest Garcia, President, North Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Amy Garmer, Director, Dialogue on Public Libraries, The Aspen Institute

Dominique Harrison, Project Manager, Communications & Society Program, The Aspen Institute

Susan Hildreth, Professor of Practice, University of Washington Information School (Seattle, Washington)

Jessica Hougen, Sutter County Museum Director, Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County

Norman Jacknis, President, Metropolitan New York Library Council and Adjunct Professor, Columbia University (New York, New York)

Miles Johnson, Consultant, Miles and Associates, The Planning Company

Jean Jordan, County Counsel, Sutter County Government Office

Steve Kroeger, City Manager, City of Yuba City

Brett Lear, Library Director, Sonoma County Library (Santa Rosa, California)

Greg Lucas, State Librarian of California, California State Library (Sacramento, California)

Ben Moody, President, Sutter Youth Organization

James Ochsner, Director of Library Services, Sutter County Library

Nancy O'Hara, Director, Health and Human Services for Sutter County

Todd Retzloff, County Assessor, Sutter County Government Office

Rivkah Sass, Executive Director, Sacramento Public Library (Sacramento, California)

Rikki Shaffer, Chief Executive Officer, Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce

Observers:

Linda Baker, Board Member, Friends of Sutter County Library

Kristin Belden, Chief of Staff, The Center for Investigative Reporting

Cole Goins, Senior Manager, Engagement and Community Collaborations, The Center for Investigative Reporting

Shirley Shimizu, Library Supporter

Angie Thoo, Instructional Aide, Andros Karperos School 


 

Overview of Key Issues & Themes

See Sutter County Rising to the Challenge, the Report of the Sutter County Dialogue on Public Libraries for complete report.

The themes of the keynote presentation – new technology, laying the foundation for the future, and placing the library at the table with other community organizations—set the tone for thinking about how these trends and opportunities apply to the issues of concern and priorities of Sutter County residents.

After identifying goals and priorities for the community (questions 1 & 2 noted above), participants identified the following roles, attributes and functions for the Sutter County Library, some of which the library already performs and provides, and others that will require adaptation, transformation and new competencies at the library:

  • A source for information on human capital in the community.
  • A partner with schools and parents in education.
  • A hub for workforce development and college and career readiness.
  • An access point for higher education and center for lifelong learning.
  • A safe and trusted “third place” for youth.
  • Filling technology gaps in the community.
  • Connecting people to resources to live healthier lives. 
  • Ensuring equity in access.
  • An innovation center in the community.

Recommendations

The following are the key recommendations made by the leadership roundtable:

Recommendation #1: Maximize space in the library.

Recommendation #2: Create new library spaces in the community.

Recommendation #3: Use technology to expand the library’s assets and the reach of educational programs on a broad spectrum of topics.

Recommendation #4: Develop partnerships with the workforce development sector.

Recommendation #5: Partner with social service organizations to improve community outreach to target populations and embed service providers in the library.

Recommendation #6: Use the Sutter County Library 100th anniversary year to launch new community engagement initiatives and plan for the future.

Ongoing Efforts

Since the Sutter County Library Dialogue on Public Libraries took place in November 2016, the Sutter County Library has moved forward to advance some of the recommendations in this report. New initiatives with the library and other community partners are in various stages of development.

  • Recommendation #6 in the report was to take advantage of the library’s 100th year anniversary. The Sutter County Library in partnership with the Friends of the Sutter County Library developed a steering committee to plan and execute the events and programs surrounding the anniversary. The celebration took place on May 26, 2017.
  • Leaders at the Sutter County Public Schools and Sutter County Library have met to discuss library support of a grant for which the school system plans to apply.
  • One Stop director has met with library staff several times and the library has hosted a couple of One Stop workshops.
  • A fairly new focus of the library’s Workforce Investment Opportunities Act (WIOA) Title II Adult Literacy Grant is on workforce development. This has opened up opportunities to work with the local superintendent of schools adult education coordinators and the Local Workforce Development Board.
  • A planning committee was formed to move along projects such as the Museum exhibit opening and a 100 year anniversary celebration planned for October 14. This committee was instrumental in developing the new logo.
  • The library’s Live Oak Branch received an exterior face lift, with the interior to be worked on in the coming fiscal year.
  • The Library became an outlet for the sale of Yuba Sutter Transit bus passes.

Sutter County Dialogue Group Photo

 


Materials and Document Database

Norman Jacknis Presentation, November 16, 2016

Sutter County Rising to the Challenge

Sutter County Dialogue on Public Libraries Photos

*Other materials can be found in the Resources section.