Ask, Listen, Empower

ebook Grounding Your Library Work in Community Engagement

By Mary Davis Fournier

cover image of Ask, Listen, Empower

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Foreword by Tracie D. Hall

Community engagement isn't simply an important component of a successful library—it's the foundation upon which every service, offering, and initiative rests. Working collaboratively with community members—be they library customers, residents, faculty, students or partner organizations— ensures that the library works, period. This important resource from ALA's Public Programs Office (PPO) provides targeted guidance on how libraries can effectively engage with the public to address a range of issues for the betterment of the community. Featuring contributions by leaders active in library-led community engagement, it's designed to be equally useful as a teaching text for LIS students and a go-to handbook for current programming, adult services, and outreach library staff. Balancing historical context with case studies and stories from field, this collection explores such key topics as

  • why libraries belong in the community engagement realm;
  • the differences and overlap between outreach, engagement, and advocacy;
  • getting the support of board and staff;
  • how to understand your community;
  • pointers on telling your story for maximum impact;
  • the ethics and challenges of engaging often unreached segments of the community;
  • identifying and building engaged partnerships;
  • archives and community engagement;
  • engaged programming; and
  • outcome measurement.
  • Sharing numerous examples of successful change, dialogue and deliberation, and collaborative efforts, this book offers a comprehensive look at community engagement work that can help all libraries reinforce their roles as champions of lifelong learning.

    Ask, Listen, Empower