Strategic Plan: CT State Library, 2015-2018

By | 2017-10-17T00:30:11+00:00 October 17th, 2017|Categories: Reports/Plans|

Connecticut State Library
Division of Library Development
Strategic Focus Plan

Developed by the Division of Library Development Staff
Vision Statement

What’s changed at DLD?

For libraries to thrive in the current information-rich, knowledge-based society, the Division of Library Development must concentrate its work in areas that meet the current needs and priorities of libraries and the people they serve. The Division’s key principle is to work together with our colleagues in the Connecticut library community toward the common goal of making libraries “a trusted community resource and an essential platform for learning, creativity and innovation in the community.”(Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries, Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, Washington, D.C.: The Aspen Institute, October 2014, page iv)

The Division of Library Development engaged in a strategic planning process in the Winter/Spring of 2015 to produce goals that would guide the Division through the next several years. Drawing on our participation in the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries we identified six areas which will receive significant organizational focus and allocation of resources:

  1. Platform
  2. Education
  3. The Seven Literacies
  4. Place
  5. Advocacy
  6. Strategic Communication

While this plan moves the Division in some important new directions, it is not meant to be a comprehensive catalog of all DLD activities. Rather this plan concentrates on identifying the strategic focus areas our services were built on in the past and will be built on in the fu-ture. And within these focus areas we identify the specific objectives we intend to reach in the next few years. Our overall goal is to adapt thoughtfully to the emerging challenges and opportunities that we face as a state agency and find meaningful ways of helping libraries provide innovative services that meet changing community needs.

How do we deliver?

Engage and Empower through


Overall Success Indicators

  • Library professionals across the state will have access to DLD resources and services regardless of location, time restrictions, job status, experience, or position.
  • CT Libraries will have the tools and resources to develop into start-up incubators.



constantly evolving; the way the Division delivers resources and services must transcend the traditional methods.
Objective 1: Build a flexible digital portal that meets the needs of the library and greater CT community.
Objective 2: Support a diverse range of digital initiatives that empower CT libraries as incubators for creativity.
Objective 3: Foster enthusiasm and support for the platform through meaningful engagement and consistent communication.

Success Indicators

  1. The platform sparks a continuous flow of ideas for new services and new ways of delivering services.
  2. A process is in place to incorporate these new ideas in the platform’s development plans.



enhanced by technology to foster more dynamic training, brainstorming and creativity among CT librarians who will feel empowered to engage their communities.
Objective 1: Be the incubator for knowledge and creativity through interactive learning.
Objective 2: Recruit for a dynamic catalog of “experts”—home grown and beyond—with diverse backgrounds and unique skill sets to meet the knowledge requirements of the library community.
Objective 3: Be accessible; deliver education in a variety of formats and platforms to engage the broader CT library community.

Success Indicators

  1. Library staff at all organizational levels and with diverse learning styles demonstrate a measurable increase in knowledge and understanding of library related facts, skills and issues.
  2. Content of DLD training meets the professional development needs of the library community and is developed based on their feedback.
  3. CT library community turns to DLD for inspiration, knowledge, and resources that improve their skills and enhance job performance.




  • Early Literacy – CT families will have the knowledge and support needed to foster early literacy skills in their young children. Children will start school with early literacy skills necessary for grade-level success.
  • Basic Literacy –CT residents’ literacy rates will be raised, fostering a trained and skilled workforce that contributes to the economic growth and development of com-munities and the state as a whole.
  • Digital Literacy –CT residents will be empowered to access information electroni-cally, use and share information, create original content, evaluate the value of infor-mation, and make informed decisions to fully participate in a digital society.
  • Financial Literacy –CT residents will have the knowledge and skill to become in-formed consumers, grow and manage wealth, and foster innovation and entrepreneur-ship, which will contribute to the economic development of their community and the state as a whole.
  • Health Literacy – CT residents will be able to manage their well-being and will be empowered to become effective partners with their healthcare providers.
  • Civic/Social Literacy – CT citizens will have the knowledge and skills they need to improve their lives, participate and contribute effectively in their community, and con-nect with one another through dialogue.
  • Legal Literacy – CT residents will have increased access to justice and have the knowledge and skills they need to effectively navigate the legal services and resources available.

Objective 1: Create an interactive toolkit specific to each literacy, with enhanced links to critical resources, and integrated into all aspects of consulting, training, and outreach activities.
Objective 2: Continue to develop strategic life learning partnerships to foster empowerment, independence, and self sufficiency in each of the seven literacies.
Objective 3: With strategic partners, develop innovative and comprehensive learning modules to fully engage DLD staff and CT librarians in the seven literacies.

Success Indicators

  1. All public and school librarians are aware of the literacy toolkits and learning modules available from DLD.
  2. Library staff has the training and tools to assess their own understanding of the seven literacies and have access to resources to improve their knowledge.
  3. Libraries are able to offer their patrons resources and services in any or all of the seven literacies using DLD toolkits.




both physical and virtual; it establishes personal connections, provides an anchor to the library community, creates a connecting location, and engages librarians to share, network, create, and so much more.
Objective 1: Develop a plan for a model interactive, flexible, incubator space to engage the library community in learning, collaboration, and creating activities.
Objective 2: Focus existing and future space on services – consulting, training, digital creator labs, demonstration areas and programming.
Objective 3: Space as a platform to foster digital initiatives as well as a mobile space to engage the library community anywhere in the state.

Success Indicators

  1. DLD will develop implement a mobile lab with “try-it-out” maker concepts, new technology, and trainers to visit and engage librarians throughout the state.
  2. DLD will have a modern, well-equipped, central location from which to offer state-of-the-art professional development, consulting, and digital information services.
  3. DLD space will serve as a model for CT libraries and will inspire construction grant projects that design library space using these same principles.




training and resources are critical to ensuring the long- term sustainability of all libraries.
Objective 1: Develop the tools – resources, training, best practices, model programs—for libraries to “tell their story”.
Objective 2: Engage in ongoing outreach and consulting to empower the library community to feel confident in telling their story.
Objective 3: Foster strategic partnerships to leverage libraries as essential organizations in the community.

Success Indicators

  1. Connecticut librarians are comfortable and confident in explaining the significance and importance of their libraries to their community.
  2. Libraries will tell their stories with statistics using tools provided by DLD.
  3. Libraries will be sought out by community organizations and municipal departments and agencies as partners to meet and align services with community needs.




critical to all of the strategic focus areas; should be meaningful and consistent.
Objective 1: Develop a unified, clear message about who we are and what we do.
Objective 2: Deliver the message through personalized consulting with each DLD staff being responsible for engaging a specific regional area.
Objective 3: Continually evaluate and refine the message to ensure that DLD is maximizing PEOPLE, PLACE and PLATFORM to inform, engage and empower the CT library community.

Success Indicators

  1. Librarians are well-informed of the resources and services available to them and the various platforms which they can access these resources.
  2. Librarians are familiar with DLD staff and are fully aware of their expertise, skill sets and consulting areas.
  3. Librarians feel comfortable and confident in their ability to contact DLD staff for advice, consulting, training, or other assistance as needed.
  4. Present a unified social media voice, not just to pass information along but to put information in context and offer further assistance.

Connecticut State Library
231 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106

The mission of the Connecticut State Library is to preserve and make accessible Connecticut’s history and heritage and to advance the development of library services statewide.

CHART: COPYRIGHT TERM and the Public Domain in the United States

By | 2017-10-15T01:14:01+00:00 October 15th, 2017|Categories: Reports/Plans, Tools|

This Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States chart was first published in Peter B. Hirtle, “Recent Changes To The Copyright Law: Copyright Term Extension,” Archival Outlook, January/February 1999. This version is current as of 1 January 2017. The most recent version is found at For some explanation on how to use the chart and complications hidden in it, see Peter B. Hirtle, “When is 1923 Going to Arrive and Other Complications of the U.S. Public Domain,” Searcher (Sept 2012). The chart is based in part on Laura N. Gasaway’s chart, “When Works Pass Into the Public Domain.”

The goal of the Copyright Information Center is to provide Cornell faculty, staff, and students with Cornell-specific and general information about copyright. The Website serves as an information clearinghouse and contains Cornell policies, general information, reference materials, and information on the University’s copyright awareness and education programs.

Cornell University Library
Amy Vanderlyke Dygert, Director of Copyright Services
Chloe McLaren, Digital Programs Associate
Oya Y. Rieger, Associate University Librarian, Scholarly Resources and Preservation Services

EU PUBLIC LIBRARIES Country Factsheets

By | 2017-10-15T00:42:21+00:00 October 15th, 2017|Categories: Reports/Plans, Statistics|

By empowering individuals, Europe’s 65,000 public libraries build stronger communities and change lives.

The goal of the Public Libraries 2020 programme (PL2020) is to raise awareness about the importance of public libraries as modern learning hubs close to citizens and (potential) learners. Public libraries have been expanding their role in local communities enormously over the last decades – many of them now help people develop their digital skills, advance or acquire other skills (such as literacy) through various lifelong learning opportunities and offer a neutral and trusted space for people to create, learn, and connect.

The PL2020 programme is run by The Reading & Writing Foundation (in Dutch: Stichting Lezen & Schrijven), which was founded in 2004 by H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands with the aim of structurally solving illiteracy in the Netherlands. Over the course of the years, The Reading & Writing Foundation has also started working towards this goal internationally. We bring literacy problems to the attention of both the general public and politicians, as well as offering nationwide support to hundreds of municipalities, institutions, companies, teachers and volunteers in the education sector.



Reading & Writing Foundation
Avenue de Broqueville, 40
1200 Woluwe-Saint-Lambert

REPORT: Libraries at the Crossroads (Pew, 2015, disruption and aspiration)

By | 2017-10-12T20:47:27+00:00 October 12th, 2017|Categories: Reports/Plans|

Libraries at the Crossroads
September 15, 2015

Report Extract: “American libraries are buffeted by cross currents. Citizens believe that libraries are important community institutions and profess interest in libraries offering a range of new program possibilities. Yet, even as the public expresses interest in additional library services, there are signs that the share of Americans visiting libraries has edged downward over the past three years, although it is too soon to know whether or not this is a trend.The data paint a complex portrait of disruption and aspiration. There are relatively active constituents who hope libraries will maintain valuable legacy functions such as lending printed books. At the same time, there are those who support the idea that libraries should adapt to a world where more and more information lives in digital form, accessible anytime and anywhere.

The big questions: What should happen to the books? What should happen to the buildings?

Two key questions highlight the challenge library leaders face. First, what should libraries do with their books? Some 30% of those ages 16 and over think libraries should “definitely” move some print books and stacks out of public locations to free up more space for such things as tech centers, reading rooms, meeting rooms and cultural events; 40% say libraries should “maybe” do that; and 25% say libraries should “definitely not” do that.

Since 2012, there has been Growing Public Support for Libraries Moving Some Books and Stacks to Create Space for Community and Tech Spacesan uptick of 10 percentage points in those saying libraries should “definitely” move some books and stacks (20% v. 30%) and an 11-point downtick in those saying that should “definitely not” be done (36% v. 25%).

The second key question is: Should bricks-and-mortar libraries have a smaller physical footprint in their communities? A majority do not think so. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of those ages 16 and over say libraries should “definitely” have more comfortable spaces for reading, working and relaxing. This represents a modest increase in this view since 2012, and it suggests that libraries still occupy a prominent spot in people’s minds as a place to go.

What people do at libraries

For those who have visited a public library in the previous 12 months, traditional activities such as checking out a book or getting help from a librarian are somewhat on the decline.

  • 66% of those who visited a library in the past 12 months say they borrowed print books, compared with 73% who did in 2012.
  • 42% of recent library users have asked the librarian for help, down from 50% in 2012.

At the same time, the number of library users who value the library as a place to simply sit and read, study or access media has increased a little. Some 53% of those who used a library in the past 12 months used it as a reading or studying locale, up from 49% who said this in 2012.

Some 16% of library users in the past Print Book Borrowing and Use of Librarians for Reference Help Has Dropped a Bityear have attended a meeting there, down somewhat from 23% who did this in 2012.

Borrowing printed books is more likely to be the province of the well-off and well-educated: 80% of the library-using college graduates and 76% of those in homes with annual incomes over $75,000 say they did this in the prior year. These figures are well above the 66% result for all Americans ages 16 and older who used a library in the past 12 months. African Americans (50%) and Hispanics (58%) are somewhat less ardent book borrowers.

Getting help from a librarian, by contrast, is something for which the library users with lower household incomes and African Americans are more likely to do. Some 52% of African Americans and 49% of those in homes with annual incomes below $30,000 have done this, compared with 42% of the general library-user population.

And using the library as a place to sit, read, study, or watch or listen to media is something library users who are young, Hispanic and lower-income Americans do more often. Compared with the 53% overall figure for library users, 73% of those in the 16 to 29 age group, 67% of Hispanics and 64% of those whose annual incomes are under $30,000 have done this.”

This report was made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, which received support for the project from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This report is a collaborative effort based on the input and analysis of the following individuals. Find related reports online at


REPORT: Libraries 2016 (Pew) Library Non-Users

By | 2017-10-12T20:05:12+00:00 October 12th, 2017|Categories: Reports/Plans, Trends|

Libraries 2016
September 9, 2016
By John B. Horrigan

Report Extract: “Libraries have been in flux since the dawn of the digital age. They face changes in the materials they provide, in use of their services, in the composition of their patron populations, and in demands for new services. It is a set of disruptions as far-reaching and disorienting as the changes that are occurring in the news media as the nature of news is redefined and its distribution mechanisms are revolutionized.

Nearly half (48%) of Americans visited libraries in the past year. Roughly a third (32%) say they have used libraries at one time or another, though not in the past 12 months. Additionally, one-in-five (19%) say they have never visited a public library or a bookmobile. This has been a persistent trend in Pew Research Center surveys for five years, and we consistently see patterns in who these non-users are and how their views about libraries differ from more recent library users.

Those who have never been to a public library are more likely to be male (24% have never been to a library), ages 65 and older (26%), Hispanic (32%), black (28%), high school graduates or less (29%), or living in households earning less than $30,000 (27%). At the same time, the data show there are members of other demographic groups that have had no direct experience with libraries, including: 11% of those with college degrees and 12% of those in households earning $75,000 or more. Additionally, one-in-six parents of minor children (17%) say they have never been to a public library.”

This report was made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, which received support for the project through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.Pew Research Center is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization and a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder.

TOOLS: Advocacy Tools for Librarians: How Americans Value Public Libraries (Pew)

By | 2017-10-12T20:48:48+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Categories: Marketing, Reports/Plans, Tools|

The Internet & American Life Project of the Pew Research Center has produced a series of reports presenting new research on library services, trends in reading habits and patron needs in the digital age. This three-year research program is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and informed by an advisory group, focus groups and surveys of library users, non-users, and librarians.

Report: From Distant Admirers to Library Lovers (March 2014)
Advocacy Toolkit (doc) | Advocacy Toolkit (pdf)

Report: How Americans Value Public Libraries in their Communities (December 2013)
Advocacy Toolkit (doc) | Advocacy Toolkit (pdf)

Report: Parents, Children, Libraries, and Reading (May 2013)
Advocacy Toolkit (doc) | Advocacy Toolkit (pdf) | WebJunction Webinar

Report: Library Services in the Digital Age (January 2013)
Advocacy Toolkit (doc) | Advocacy Toolkit (pdf) | WebJunction Webinar

Report(s): Libraries, patrons, and e-books (June 2012) and The rise of e-reading (April 2013)
Advocacy Toolkit (doc) | Advocacy Toolkit (pdf)|

REPORT: December 11, 2013 Full Report PDF
Summary: How Americans Value Public Libraries in their Communities
By Kathryn Zickuhr, Lee Rainie, Kristen Purcell and Maeve Duggan
Public Libraries’ Importance and Impact
Importance of public library services

Extract: Overall, 91% of Americans either have ever used a public library or said another household member uses a public library.4 We asked these respondents who have personal or family experiences with libraries a series of questions about how important they consider various library services, including various library resources and activities.

There are notable patterns in many of the answers about the importance of library services among those who have personal or family experiences with public libraries. In general, women, African-Americans and Hispanics, adults who live in lower-income households, and adults with lower levels of educational attainment are more likely than other groups to say these services are “very important.” Those ages 30-64 are more likely than younger or older respondents to say many of the services are “very important,” as are parents with minor children. Urban residents with library experiences are more likely than rural residents to say some services are “very important” to them.

Adults 65 and older are the age group most likely to say that none of these library services are very important to them, and generally rate most services as less important overall. For instance, among those ages 65 and older with some public library experience,65% say that having a quiet and safe place to spend time at the library is important to them and their families overall, compared with 75% of all respondents who say this is important.

Copyright 2017 The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project is one of seven projects that make up the Pew Research Center. The Center is supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts

REPORT: National Policy Agenda for Libraries (ALA, 2015)

By | 2017-10-11T03:06:40+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles, Reports/Plans|

The Policy Revolution! Initiative

Excerpt: “The goals of this national policy agenda are to change the conversation about libraries—from a nostalgic character in our history to an essential player in our nation’s story—and to help focus and guide the library community’s collective outreach to key decision makers and influencers.

Our strategic approach is to focus on the high-level “Library” story rather than on the silos of academic, school, public, government, and special or other libraries. We do so to create more holistic policy solutions and harness the power of our diverse community. Moreover, many decision makers and influencers do not understand or care about our silos—rather, the brand is “library” insofar as a brand exists.

Libraries serve communities in diverse and interdisciplinary ways through essential services. Several of these essential service areas intersect with national priorities, and provide us with a unique opportunity to influence policy. These areas include: education and learning; employment and entrepreneurship; health and wellness; access to government information and services; and preservation of the nation’s digital heritage and history.

We outline seven areas where policy change is needed: Library Funding; Balanced Copyright and Licensing Frameworks; Systems for Managing Digital Content; Privacy and Transparency; Equal Access to Robust Broadband; Strengthening Library-related Functions in the Federal Government; and A New Generation of Library Professionals.”

An executive brief of this National Policy Agenda for Libraries is available:

If you have questions about the Agenda, contact the Co-principal Investigators Alan S. Inouye ( and Larra Clark ( at the American Library Association, Office for Information Technology Policy, Washington, D.C.

© 2015 American Library Association

REPORT: State of American’s Libraries, 2017 [ALA]

By | 2017-10-09T23:03:08+00:00 October 9th, 2017|Categories: Reports/Plans|

Extract: “In the 21st century, libraries of all types are responding to the changing social, economic, and political impacts of living in a digital society. Academic, school, and public libraries provide services that empower people for change. Library workers’ expertise, combined with dynamic collections and digital resources, help individuals develop new skills, communicate with others through new technologies, and help make their communities better places to live.

Our 9,082 public libraries play a vital role in such community services as early childhood literacy, computer training, and workforce development. In addition, they provide a safe place for everyone, reflecting and serving the diversity of their communities in their collections, programs, and services. The thousands of public libraries in towns and neighborhoods across the United States invite community conversations and actions that further understanding and address local needs.

Public libraries are committed to ensuring a safe place for all that reflects and serves the diversity of the nation in their collections, programs, and services. The thousands of public libraries in towns and neighborhoods across this country invite community conversations and actions that further understanding and address local needs.”

Contact: Macey Morales
Deputy Director, Public Awareness Office
American Library Association

American Library Association. The State of America’s Libraries 2017: A Report from the American Library Association. Kathy S. Rosa, ed. 2016. Full report:


PROGRAM: Library Takeover: Madison, Wisconsin

By | 2017-10-19T10:11:54+00:00 October 8th, 2017|Categories: Collaborations/Community, Exciting Ideas, Programs|

Here’s a library idea that will soon be sweeping the nation. As first reported by Carrie Smith in American Libraries, the “Library Takeover” program in Madison, Wisconsin, “blends outreach with adult programming to increase community investment.” The concept is exciting.

Teams of 3-4 adults propose original programming for the library. Three teams are chosen, and each gets up to $2,000 to make their library program idea a reality. Teams are coached for six-weeks by local event planners; teams cannot be directly affiliated with other non-profits or other institutions.

In 2017, the Madison Public Library’s Library Takeover produced three collaborative events representing diverse populations: an inclusive dance party and discussion of accessibility issues in nightlife spaces, a showcase of poets, performers, and storytellers, and Namaste Madison, a full-day celebration of the contributions of Indian-Americans in the greater Madison area.

Article on Library Takeover

Libraries and Philosophy: Suggested Reading

By | 2017-10-05T14:45:34+00:00 October 5th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles|

“There is a surprising amount of literature available on the philosophy of library and information science (LIS), but it’s hard to know where to start. What should a library philosopher read? Where’s the best place to begin? Since this blog is supposedly about philosophy and librarianship, the least I can do is attempt to build a list of suggested readings to aid the interested. Granted, I’m no expert, but I can at least start building a bibliography of the texts I think are most important to understanding the intersection of philosophy and librarianship at a foundational level.”
Lane Alan Wilkinson

General Works in the Philosophy of Librarianship

  • Bivens-Tatum, W. (2012).  Libraries and the enlightenment. Los Angeles: Library Juice Press. [Link to review]
  • Budd, J. (2001). Knowledge and knowing in library and information science: a philosophical framework. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press.
  • Cossette, A. (1976/2009). Humanism and libraries: An essay on the philosophy of librarianship. Translated by Rory Litwin. Duluth, Minn.: Library Juice Press.
  • Gorman, M. (2000). Our enduring values. Chicago: American Library Association.
  • Herold, K. (Ed.). (2004). The philosophy of information [special issue]. Library Trends, 52(3). [Link to review]
  • Hjørland, B. (Ed.). (2005).  Library and information science and the philosophy of science [special issue]. Journal of Documentation, 61(1).
  • Kaplan, A. (1964). The age of the symbol–a philosophy of library education. Library Quarterly, 34(4), 295-304. [Link to review]
  • Nitecki, J. Z. (1979). Metaphors of librarianship: A suggestion for a metaphysical model. Journal of Library History, 14(1), 21-42. Recommended by Ken Herold.
  • Osburn, C. B. (2009). The social transcript: uncovering library philosophy. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited. [Link to review]

From Sense and Reference: A Philosophical Library Blog by Lane Alan Wilkinson is Director of Instruction at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Library.

REPORT: Rising to the Challenge [Aspen Institute, 2014]

By | 2017-10-05T00:33:28+00:00 October 5th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles, Reports/Plans, Trends|

From the 2014 archives…

Rising to the Challenge is the culmination of a year-long exploration and examination of the challenges and opportunities facing communities and their public libraries as society moves deeper into the digital era. It projects a new vision for public libraries and promotes new thinking about libraries, their critical assets, new networked forms and the essential role they now play in providing opportunities for individuals and communities to succeed in an economy and society that reward learning, creativity, innovation and social connection. Rising to the Challenge addresses key strategies for building strong libraries and communities, and offers a series of action steps for those who are motivated by the Dialogue’s vision to get started in their own communities. View the digital report at

The emerging value proposition of the public library is built around three key assets— people, place and platform:

PEOPLE. The public library is a hub of civic engagement, fostering new relationships and strengthening the human capital of the community. Librarians are actively engaged in the community. They connect individuals to a vast array of local and national resources and serve as neutral conveners to foster civic health. They facilitate learning and creation for children and adults alike.

PLACE. The public library is a welcoming space for a wide range of purposes—reading, communicating, learning, playing, meeting and getting business done. Its design recognizes that people are not merely consumers of content but creators and citizens as well. Its physical presence provides an anchor for economic development and neighborhood revitalization, and helps to strengthen social bonds and community identity. The library is also a virtual space where individuals can gain access to information, resources and all the rich experiences the library offers.
In the creative design of its physical and virtual spaces the public library defines what makes a great public space.

PLATFORM. The public library is user-centered. It provides opportunities for individuals and the community to gain access to a variety of tools and resources with which to discover and create new knowledge. The platform enables the curation and sharing of the community’s knowledge and innovation. A great library platform is a “third place” —an interactive entity that can facilitate many people operating individually and in groups—and supports the learning and civic needs of the community.

JOURNAL: The Political Librarian

By | 2017-10-04T20:08:59+00:00 October 4th, 2017|Categories: Marketing, Philosophy/Principles|

The Political Librarian is dedicated to expanding the discussion of, promoting research on, and helping to re-envision locally focused advocacy, policy, and funding issues for libraries.

It encompasses a variety of perspectives to the journal and draws contributions not just from those working in the field of library and information science. Submissions are sought from researchers, practitioners, community members, or others dedicated to furthering the discussion, promoting research, and helping to re-envision tax policy and public policy on the extremely local level.

The Political Librarian team is grateful for the generous contributions of the Washington University Libraries for hosting the journal and providing every-ready support.

REPORT: Role of Libraries in Advancing Community Goals

By | 2017-10-03T11:47:10+00:00 October 3rd, 2017|Categories: Reports/Plans|

The International City/County Management Association (ICMA), in partnership with the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries and the Public Library Association (PLA), conducted a nationwide survey in the spring of 2016 focused on the evolving role of public libraries in advancing community goals. The survey was returned by 1,927 chief administrative offices of local governments.

This effort was undertaken to better understand how public libraries can be leveraged to advance community goals and how government agencies can partner with library leaders to better engage, inform, and empower residents. The survey was conducted in follow-up to ICMA’s 2010 Public Library Initiative Survey.

Public Service and Civic Engagement: Some 39% of all respondents said libraries should definitely provide a forum for convening public discussions. For respondents living in places with 100,000 or more people, 60% said this. Fewer (24%) said libraries should support the provision of public health services, but 33% in large population areas (100,000+) said this.

Education: Clear majorities said libraries should definitely coordinate with local schools to provide resources for kids and provide online learning experiences, with 73% and 57% saying this, respectively. For coordinating with local schools, 81% of respondents living in places with more than 100,000 people cited this as a definite priority and 85% of those living in places between 25,000 and 50,000 in population. For online learning, 70% from large population centers (100,000+) say this. Additionally, half (50%) said libraries should definitely provide “makerspace” tools for community members, with places with larger populations (100,000+) and those from the mid-Atlantic region more likely to say this (63% and 64%), respectively.

Workforce Development: Respondents see workforce development as less of a definite priority than some other areas. Some 32% say libraries should definitely provide training, technology, and resources for job-related skills. And 31% say libraries should coordinate with local employers for matching residents to employers’ needs. Respondents from larger communities (100,000+) were, by 15 and 13 point margins, more likely to cite those items as definite priorities.

Economic Development: In the economic development realm, relatively few said libraries should definitely wade into this area. Some 22% said libraries should definitely provide information on how to start a business, though nearly twice of respondents (40%) who live in areas with more than 100,000 people said this. A similar number (23%) said libraries should definitely provide a workspace for mobile workers or entrepreneurs, though 32% of those in large (100,000+) areas said this.

These are partial results – full report here:




The Engagement Path: Harwood Institute (2003)

By | 2017-10-02T21:29:12+00:00 October 2nd, 2017|Categories: Collaborations/Community, Reports/Plans|

Extract from the archives:

The Engagement Path: The Realities of How People Engage Over Time – and the Possibilities for Re-engaging Americans
(pdf) by
Richard C. Harwood, The Harwood Institute

There is one bit of knowledge everyone should know when seeking to engage people in public life: there is a natural path to people’s engagement, called, the Engagement Path. What does engagement look like when it works well? “The Engagement Path” is a report from The Harwood Institute that pulls together years of experience in working with communities to detail the way people handle on issues over time in a constructive, meaningful way.

The Harwood Institute’s work suggests that there are four significant steps on the Engagement Path:
Personal Realm; Nascent Talk; Discovery; and Deliberation.

Personal Realm
In the Personal Realm of engagement, people are, so to speak, in their homes, living in their daily private lives. Their conversations tend to focus on those concerns that have a direct impact on their own lives or the lives of those close to them.

Nascent Talk
It is in Nascent Talk where people begin to connect more explicitly their personal and public lives. What drives them is their basic need to interact with others. They are in search of a better understanding of what is going on around them. And they want to be understood by others. Importantly, people are not usually motivated at this point to solve problems or to make decisions.

Discovery is where people make a leap in engagement. Here people fully step into public life. It is in this stage that people gain a sense of possibility that did not exist previously. They attach to engagement more deeply; they become more vested.

What motivates people in this step along the Engagement Path is the ability to generate together what The Harwood Institute calls a re-orienting idea. This is not just any idea. A re-orienting idea provides people new insight into a public dilemma that they are struggling with. It is rooted in an easy, intuitive language that redefines an issue and helps people see their relationship to it. People emerge from this step with a new sense of coherence and meaning about a public concern.

In Discovery, people often move from being a concerned individual or even a consumer in public life, to being a “citizen” – seeing both their own interests and those of others and connecting them into a common idea. They begin to see themselves as actors in public life.

But this stage often is entirely missed or short-circuited in engagement efforts. Engagement efforts often fail to give people enough time to make their own discoveries and to name them in their own words. Instead, issues are pre-defined or defined in ways that do not relate to people’s lives. Processes hurry people through this step in order to get to the “real action”; and yet, without this step, the context of people’s concerns and hopes – their very lives – is stripped away. Then there is little reason for people to engage.

Deliberation is the next part of the Engagement Path. It is in this stage that people’s engagement goes much deeper: people make choices and decisions; wrestle with values and tradeoffs; figure out what to do. This step is a prerequisite to taking purposeful public action.

There are a number of keys to this step. First, it is not monolithic. And yet, it is typically treated as such. People take different routes through Deliberation, depending upon the nature of the issue at hand. The Harwood Institute has found that there are four key routes through Deliberation: Peeling Away; Building; Sorting Out; and Systems.

Frequently, groups seeking to hold deliberation come along with a one size fits all approach; thus, even if they have determined the appropriate engagement step, in this case Deliberation, they may still be taking the wrong route.

Many groups also seem to approach engagement as if Deliberation were the only stage on the Engagement Path. When organizations create conversations that are too tightly focused on deliberation, they may engage only small numbers of people – those who already care about a particular issue, those who have confidence to talk publicly with others, or those who have already thought about an issue. Indeed, such efforts may be engaging only those who have moved through the previous engagement steps. This is one explanation for why some deliberation efforts fail to attract more people. Simply put, they have left behind many Americans.

© 2003 The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation
This is an extract – for the full report and much more, visit:


REPORT (UN): Meaningful Access to Information

By | 2017-09-30T19:05:20+00:00 September 30th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles, Reports/Plans|

Development and Access to Information (DA2I) is the first of a series of annual reports that will monitor the progress countries are making towards fulfilling their commitment to promote meaningful access to information as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

• It  explains the mission of libraries in terms that policy-makers can understand, from the United Nations to the smallest village.
• It makes it clear that Internet access alone, while important, is not enough.
• It sets out the argument for a properly supported library system.
• It is a tool – a weapon even – for the whole united library field, a powerful statement of why libraries are motors for change.

Gerald Leitner, Secretary General, IFLA
25 September 2017
webinar info and slides:



Transcendance: When Libraries Really Provide Value

By | 2017-09-30T19:07:12+00:00 September 29th, 2017|Categories: Library Truths, Marketing, Philosophy/Principles|

Researcher Eric Almquist and colleagues have identified The 30 Things Customers Really Value” covering most fundamental human needs. These 30 “elements of value” are fundamental attributes in their most essential and discrete forms.

They fall into four categories: functional, emotional, life changing, social impact.

In a blog post, Steven Bell explains the four categories:

“At the base of the value pyramid is functional value. These are fairly basic services such as save people time, simplify things for them or facilitate their organization (think the Container Store).

The next highest order value is emotion. When a company like CVS offers wellness services or Disney offer fun experiences it appeals to our sense of emotional well being. When community members express affection for their library (e.g. “I love my library”) that signals an emotional connection. Engaging community members in ways that connect them to our libraries emotionally provides a unique value element.

Beyond emotion lies life changing value. Educational organizations offer the value of acquiring new skills or abilities that can lead to life changing opportunity. Offering a community to which members can belong is valued by those who with to be a part of something bigger then themselves – and it can be life changing. A library literacy program volunteer achieves life changing value by contributing to an organization that does change lives and improves the quality of the community.

At the top of the value pyramid is social impact. There is only one value associated with this category, self-transcendance. This is comparable to Maslow’s self-actualization on the hierarchy of needs. Few of us achieve it, and far fewer organizations can deliver this type of value.”

Bell says that it appears libraries “mostly deliver functional value,” and asks the important question,  “how do we deliver higher levels of value that get community members emotionally engaged with the library?”

Steven Bell is currently Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University, and was previously Director of the Library at Philadelphia University.

LIBRARY ANXIETY: Strange Affliction

By | 2017-09-28T22:00:04+00:00 September 28th, 2017|Categories: Library Truths|

“Library anxiety is real. The phenomenon, which involves feeling intimidated, embarrassed, and overwhelmed by libraries and librarians, was first identified by Constance A. Mellon in 1986. Her paper, “Library Anxiety: A Grounded Theory and Its Development,” reported that college students in particular are prone to library anxiety because they believe their research skills are inadequate, which makes them feel ashamed and unwilling to talk to the very librarians who might be able to ease their worries.”

Atlas Obscura is the definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places.

Principles on Public Access in Libraries

By | 2017-09-28T18:16:23+00:00 September 28th, 2017|Categories: Philosophy/Principles|

Principles on Public Access in Libraries

Libraries have a role in national development through providing access to information. The members of the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries agree with the following principles:

Infrastructure: Libraries should be recognized as a vehicle to ensure universal access to the Internet. Libraries should be used to initiate universal and affordable infrastructure in developing countries and under-served communities in developed countries. Where libraries do not exist, information and documentation centres should be recognized as a vehicle for ensuring universal access.

Policy: Policies and legislation should create an enabling environment for universal access to information by supporting the role of libraries in providing public access to ICTs, Internet connectivity and technology training.

Copyright: National and international copyright frameworks should balance the public interest in accessing information with the rights of authors, artists, and publishers by ensuring provisions for libraries and archives to provide public access to the world’s knowledge in all formats.

Accessibility: All people, irrespective of gender, age, capacity, race or ethnicity, should have access to information through ICTs and the skills needed to participate fully in society.

Privacy: Individuals have the right to privacy when they seek information using the Internet. Internet users in public venues such as libraries must not be subject to surveillance of their activities.

Skills development: Libraries should be supported in their role of offering training and skills development in using technology, media and information literacy, so that people can access the information and services that they need.

Open access content: Through providing technology and Internet access, libraries offer and promote access to free online content that supports education and development, complementing access to commercial content through online subscription resources.

Local content: Through providing technology and offering support, libraries have the capacity to promote and enable the creation of local content and to ensure its preservation. Libraries should be supported in using and facilitating access to open data and open access solutions and libraries’ role in providing access to government information and services should be recognized.

International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)coordinates the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries with Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL). IFLA is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession.

The Principles on Public Access in Libraries were produced by the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries and discussed by participants at the Internet Governance Forum in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, in November 2015. The IFLA Governing Board endorsed the principles in December 2015.

BOOK: A Splendid Torch: Learning and Teaching in Today’s Academic Libraries

By | 2017-09-26T17:17:42+00:00 September 26th, 2017|Categories: Collaborations/Community, Philosophy/Principles, Reports/Plans|

A Splendid Torch: Learning and Teaching in Today’s Academic Libraries
by Jodi Reeves Eyre, John C. Maclachlan, and Christa Williford, editors

September 2017. 151 pp. $0.
ISBN 978-1-932326-58-1
CLIR pub 174

PDF Download of Full Report (7.3 MB) >>

This is a web-only report—it is not available in print.

Six essays, written collaboratively by current and former CLIR postdoctoral fellows, explore the contributions that today’s academic libraries—as providers of resources, professional support, and space—are making to learning and teaching. Topics include the continuing evolution of the learning commons, information literacy instruction, digital humanities teaching in libraries, spatial literacy, collaboration in digital special collections, and 3-D printing and pedagogy.

A Splendid Torch: Learning and Teaching in Today’s Academic Libraries, published by the Council on Library and Information Resources, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The Council on Library and Information Resources, 1707 L Street NW, Suite 650, Washington, DC 20036, is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.

TOOL: ROI – Library Use Value Calculator

By | 2017-09-25T23:47:50+00:00 September 25th, 2017|Categories: Marketing, Statistics, Tools|

Return on Investment
Figuring out your public service return on investment is a great way to tell the story about how valuable your library is to the community. Click here to download the customized excel spreadsheet, or here.

Communication Services provides Library Advocacy Services

Since 2005, Communication Services has worked with dozens of libraries to help them achieve financial stability and sustainability. Now that libraries must live within a 2% Tax Cap World, it is more important than ever for libraries to make sure they are seen as an essential community services that deserve funding because of the important programs and services they provide.

MORE: Customization of a Library Use Value Calculator from the Maine State Library


Key Reports