ALA and the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation are working together to give libraries the tools to achieve real change in their communities. Here, Alice Knapp shares how she has brought the "turning outward" approach to her Connecticut library.
By Susan Graseck – Director, The Choices Program – Brown University
De Tocqueville’s assertion — that democracy succeeds through the democratic outlook of individual citizens — is the prerequisite condition for enlightened citizenship. It is the condition under which citizens make informed, value-based choices, and then share them with their government so that wiser and more democratic policies will be enacted.
A vintage postcard exhibit at Kansas City Public Library attracted 9,200 visitors and rekindled interest in the city's history. Here, the exhibit creators -- winners of ALA's 2014 Excellence in Library Programming Award -- share tips on how your library can do the same.
As librarians, we tend to be a goal-driven bunch. Whether it is launching a new program, increasing circulation statistics, improving patron experiences, or developing further skills through training or conferences, it always seems that the library community at large is in a constant state of self-improvement. Perhaps this need for self-reflection stems from the changing space and use of the library, or is a side effect of doing more with less as the impact of the financial downturn hits libraries everywhere.
Even though library programming is widespread, programmers still find themselves faced with having to persuade the library administration, board members, colleagues, and even patrons and the public of its value. As different agencies and library departments compete for limited funding, it’s important to be able to articulate why cultural programming is worth the investment.
There’s a lot of buzz about evaluation these days. Are programs effective? Do they make the library, and by extension, the community, a better place? Do they accomplish what we intend and/or do they sometimes have other, maybe even better, unintended consequences?