Root for Columbus: It Took a Village to Make Our Tree

Columbus Public Library is one of 10 libraries taking part in an intensive 18-month training in the “turning outward” approach. Here, Cindy Fesemyer describes the Root for Columbus project, in which her library is sending a “wishing tree” around town to collect residents’ aspirations for Columbus. Not only is the exercise getting people thinking, but it’ll result in data that will help the library in the next phase of the process: tackling the challenges that are most important to residents.

About six months into our Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) training grant, the team from Columbus, Wis., decided to add another tool to our community organizers’ toolbox. Well, we didn’t decide so much as bend to the creative mind that is Mary Lou Sharpee, one of our team members. Mary Lou had a vision of something colorful and interactive that would get people talking in our community. She had a vision, and the library had a good deal of help turning that vision into a reality.

In early October, we launched the Root for Columbus campaign. The first week of the campaign, there were three ways to "root for Columbus" within the library itself. The two that are still here are construction paper trees, bare of leaves. One tree is on the tall glass doors to our very busy community room, and the second is on the bulletin board by the magazines and fireplace. Beside each tree is a Root for Columbus sign — complete with the library’s logo — and the question, “What kind of community do you want?

Watch FREE Videos from the Library Anytime, Anywhere

Streaming video is now available from Columbus Public Library!
Your Columbus Public Library has expanded its services with streaming video available to enjoy from the library’s website, Just click the Download Overdrive icon on the right navigation bar and look for New Streaming Video under the Featured Collections menu. Columbus Library card holders have instant access to streaming video with a growing catalog of digital feature films, documentaries, educational, children’s favorites and more with a modern, easy-to-use viewing experience.
This new service will be especially handy for parents looking to entertain antsy kids with a great educational video experience on just about any device. There are many kids’ titles available and the list just keeps growing.

One of Ten Libraries Selected Nationwide!

Your Columbus Public Library was selected for the American Library Association Libraries Transforming Communities training grant!

Public libraries interact with and serve local residents in many ways, and Columbus Public Library is embarking on a new project to strengthen its role as a core community leader and change agent.
Columbus Public Library is one of 10 public libraries nationwide that will undergo an intensive 18-month, team-based community engagement training program as part of the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) Public Innovators Cohort. Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), Columbus Public Library will receive nearly $60,000 in training and services as a participant in the project.
“The cohort was selected through a highly-competitive peer-reviewed application process that is part of ALA’s LTC initiative,” said Cindy Fesemyer, director of the Columbus Public Library. “The Libraries Transforming Communities project is a national plan to help librarians strengthen their role as corecommunity leaders and change-agents.”
Through in-person training, webinars, and coaching—valued at $50,000—five Library staff members, board members and other community partners will learn new community engagement techniques and apply them to challenges in the Columbus area. The library will also receive an $8,000 cash grant to help
cover the cost of the new community engagement work. 
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