Earlier in August I presented on the topic of community partnerships at our annual Summer Summit workshops, so I thought I’d highlight a few of the resources I covered for those who were unable to attend. At the workshops, Mary discussed community engagement and the report “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries” from The Aspen Institute. I focused on the first “Strategy for Success” from the report, which is “Aligning library services in support of community goals.”
In order to identify community goals, it’s helpful to get out into the community and talk to other organizations because “libraries that are valued by their communities involve the people, local groups and government agencies in developing services and programs.” This isn’t something you just add to your list of things to do. It’s a crucial task that must be incorporated into your broader strategic plan. If you missed our Summer Summit on strategic planning, you can still access the resources to help you get started.
Partnerships benefit the library by:
- Raising the visibility of the library in the community
- Gaining advocates for the library
- Changing the perception of the value of the library to the community
- Putting the library in a position to get more funding
- Community Tool Box from the Work Group for Community Health and Development
- Adventures in Outreach from YALSA
- Placemaking from Project for Public Spaces
- United for Libraries from ALA
- “Citizens Save Libraries” Power Guide
- Building Your Base from the Mid-Hudson Library System
- Frameworks for Working Together guidebook from Strengthening Nonprofits
- Working with Community Partners from the California Library Association
- Partnerships & Collaboration from WebJunction
Every community has different resources, so if you need help brainstorming ideas for potential community partnerships, check out WebJunction’s Community Partnership and Collaboration Guide. It includes a very thorough list of organizations you might find in your community.
What partnerships does your library have to help meet the needs of your community? Share your ideas in the comments!