22 November 2021

Are you looking for a new way to gather input and spark ideas in your community? Try a community conversation.

The Vespasian Warner Public Library District in Clinton held a community conversation in August thanks to grant funding from Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Focus on Small and Rural Libraries, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL).

The LTC grant gave the library the opportunity to participate in a facilitation eCourse and the skills gained were put into action with a community conversation. Specifically, library staff facilitated a special brainstorming event with a focus on local history. Attendees had a real voice in selecting a project that would spark excitement in preserving local history for future generations.

The event was free to attend and open to the public. Representatives from ten different organizations were present to share their ideas including the chamber of commerce, local museum, genealogical society, park foundation, and others. Attendees generated over thirty ideas for events, projects, and initiatives that could increase engagement in local history throughout the community. Everyone also left the conversation with the plan to continue working together on future projects.

In the end, a project to highlight local landmarks was selected. The Vespasian Warner Public Library District is currently working with EMC Photography to capture aerial footage of the community using drone technology. The new and exciting images will be paired with historical images of the same locations and exhibited at the library later this winter.  Results from the community conversation were so impressive that the library also applied to the third LTC grant cycle. Staff are excited to announce that they will be continuing their community conversation efforts in early 2022 thanks to additional support from ALA and ARSL.

Are you ready to get started in your own community? The eCourse is free and open to all libraries and conversation topics are limitless.

Libraries Transforming Communities: Facilitation Training for Small and Rural Libraries eCourse Link: Click Here