Dialogue Models

Models

The Aspen Institute’s Dialogue on Public Libraries in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 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

The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries partnered with the Winter Park Public Library (WPPL) from June 8-9, 2016 in Winter Park, Florida to address the strategic opportunities presented by public libraries and their changing roles in communities and the nation. The impetus for this broad effort was the launch of the Aspen Institute’s vision report, Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, which calls on civic leaders, policymakers and library leaders to leverage libraries as platforms for building more knowledgeable, healthy and sustainable communities.

Sutter County Dialogue on Public Libraries
Yuba City, California

Sutter County Dialogue on Public Libraries
Yuba City, California

The Sutter County Dialogue on Public Libraries, a partnership between the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries and the Sutter County Library was designed to bring together leaders from the civic, business, education and government sectors to address the strategic opportunities presented by the changing role of public libraries in an increasingly diverse, information-rich and networked world. The focus of the forum was to explore how the communities of Sutter County can develop and leverage the library and its key assets to advance community goals and priorities in sustainable ways. It was also intended to foster the development of deeper partnerships between the county’s public library and other public and private institutions and community organizations in the pursuit of beneficial community outcomes. 

Aspen Institute Colorado Dialogue on Public Libraries
Denver, Colorado

Aspen Institute Colorado Dialogue on Public Libraries
Denver, Colorado

Example 3

Phasellus congue ultrices tortor, sed venenatis dolor bibendum vel. Sed ac felis sit amet velit varius suscipit ac at nibh. Pellentesque elementum aliquam lacus, consequat semper enim sagittis non. Suspendisse varius pellentesque tristique. Aenean sollicitudin, diam nec fermentum aliquet, tortor diam imperdiet massa, id imperdiet neque eros non felis. Fusce in lacinia arcu. Pellentesque ac augue dapibus, posuere lectus nec, mattis purus. Pellentesque ut mauris mollis, euismod sem in, imperdiet eros. Proin auctor id dui in tristique. Maecenas enim quam, convallis ac lorem nec, vulputate porta mi. Phasellus cursus volutpat nisl non laoreet. In in neque tempus lorem egestas cursus. Nunc viverra laoreet tortor a commodo. Phasellus a porta nisi. In eu metus lobortis urna aliquam congue. Nullam eu leo sem.

Donec in quam quis magna malesuada mollis. Donec vel est vitae erat lobortis faucibus ultricies vel leo. Cras vel dapibus mi, nec imperdiet quam. Nunc congue sem nisl, sed consequat ligula ornare in. Donec vitae dui rhoncus, ultricies mi a, bibendum dui. Quisque tristique, turpis quis condimentum dapibus, dui ex accumsan erat, et viverra ligula dolor ut metus. Proin dolor magna, mollis vitae accumsan et, facilisis quis quam.

Nulla sit amet velit eros. Ut tempus mi massa, non iaculis ipsum bibendum feugiat. Ut gravida, felis quis pellentesque dictum, erat orci aliquam ipsum, at accumsan massa ex id neque. Vestibulum ullamcorper egestas arcu vitae gravida. Cras scelerisque finibus libero. Integer mattis, libero vitae scelerisque accumsan, dui purus varius purus, quis lobortis diam neque quis tellus. Nulla euismod semper imperdiet.

Houston Dialogue on Public Libraries
Houston, Texas

Houston Dialogue on Public Libraries
Houston, Texas

Overview

The purpose of the Houston Dialogue on Public Libraries is to drive new thinking, conversation and action about the role of the public library as a strategic partner in meeting the needs of an increasingly digital, diverse and mobile society. The goal of the Dialogue is (1) to identify strategic opportunities for leveraging the library’s key assets (people, place and platform) to advance learning, innovation and development in the community and (2) to foster the development of deeper partnerships with public and private entities in pursuit of solutions to critical challenges facing the community. The Houston Dialogue on Public Libraries will also serve as a model for other communities across the country who are eager to explore how they can leverage the public library and its assets to build more knowledgeable, healthy and sustainable communities.

Issues and Opportunities

The Steering Committee for the Houston Dialogue on Public Libraries met on December 5, 2016 to discuss the objectives of the Dialogue and central issues of concern in the city that would shape the Dialogue’s agenda and participant selection. The issues identified below are not an exhaustive list, rather, they represent several important issues of concern in the city that are also potential areas of opportunity for the library and its civic partners. These issues include:

  • The Library of the Future – Understanding what constitutes the library of the future, how different populations can engage more and draw more value from library services, how Houston’s libraries can make the transition from consuming content to creating content. How can the library be a platform for creativity and innovation in the community? How does it serve millennials, the business community and all segments of the community, not just the neediest? (This is important to cultivating broad financial and political support for the library.) Communication is a key element; there is a need to rebrand the library and know its audiences.
  • Building a 21st century workforce which requires building opportunities for people, community capacity building and creating access. The jobs and workforce issue is also an important focus for engaging the business community because it addresses WII-FM – “what’s in it for me?” Building healthy communities, education and literacy are important to business, and smart corporations recognize that their success is linked to the success of the library in helping the community to achieve these goals. To get these people to the table, we need to make the business case around jobs of the future.
  • Approaches to strengthening the social safety net, specifically around financial sustainability, have safe and affordable housing and success for children and their families. Related to this is a core conversation about individual and family empowerment – what constitutes empowerment? Key organizations are moving away from an approach based on programs and assets to approaches focused on solutions. One challenge is to identify who the wraparound providers are
  • Addressing the mismatch between people with particular workforce skills and the opportunities they have to work and live in Houston. For example, Houston’s universities are graduating people with creative skills, but they are leaving for jobs elsewhere.
  • City priorities identified around the Complete Communities concept, working in partnership with community based organizations and testing through pilot programs. Houston is uniquely a network of neighborhoods, yet collaboration is often at the system level. How can we better identify and address solutions to what neighborhoods want or need done?
  • Addressing innovation and technology, digital inclusion and leveraging opportunities to build digital capacity in the library and city.  to strengthen opportunity, library services and sustainability (e.g., passport applications at the library create a new revenue stream for HPL).
  • Opportunities and impediments to collaborations, including collaborations between schools and libraries, raise issues around access to data that is instrumental in measuring the success of programs. There are many questions regarding data on library utilization, community wants and needs. What data is currently collected and how is that data used in strategic planning and decision making?
  • Take lessons from successful political campaigns, where you need multiple modalities to reach people; focus groups help to determine what works well; and key questions are teed up around big issues—what is the biggest issue we have? And are there radical new ideas to drive engagement and action forward? Do we need a white paper with a radical new idea to get people onboard?
  • The equity ecology – what are the measures for equity? And how can the library and other partnerships boost them

Opening Reception and Dinner
Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 6:00-9:00 pm

Moderated Leadership Roundtable
Date: September 14, 2017