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. “Each of us on this grant team relishes the opportunity to help grow a new collaborative spirit in our town, transforming our community by starting with the already trusted public library,” Fesemyer said. “We strive to better reflect the changing needs of a changing Columbus.”
The 10 selected libraries in this American Library Association effort represent the range of American communities in terms of size, location, ethnic and racial diversity and socioeconomic status, and they all face challenges including illiteracy; unemployment; a “digital divide” in access to information technology;
an influx of new and immigrant populations; and disparate access to services.
Other members of the LTC Public Innovators Cohort include:
• Red Hook (N.Y.) Public Library (pop: 1,900)
• Knox County (Ind.) Public Library (pop: 33,900)
• Suffolk (Va.) Public Library (pop: 85,000)
• Hartford (Conn.) Public Library (pop: 125,000)
• Springfield (Mass.) City Library (pop: 153,000)
• Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Public Library (pop: 195,000)
• Spokane County (Wash.) Library District (pop: 255,000)
• San Jose (Calif.) Public Library (pop: 980,000)
• Los Angeles (Calif.) Public Library (pop: 3.8 million)
“Public libraries have long served as trusted and treasured institutions, and librarians today can leverage that strong position for the betterment of their communities,” said ALA President Barbara Stripling. “As a longtime champion of library-led community engagement and innovation, ALA is primed to
provide the tools and support that will enable librarians to more effectively fulfill this vital role.”
In partnership with The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, Libraries Transforming Communities addresses a critical need within the library field by developing and distributing new tools, resources and support for librarians to engage with their communities in new ways. Libraries Transforming Communities is made possible through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Libraries Transforming Communities is grounded in The Harwood Institute’s approach of “turning outward,” which emphasizes changing the orientation of institutions and individuals from internal (institutional) to external (community-facing).
For more information, contact Columbus Public Library Director Cindy Fesemyer at (920) 623-5910.
About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately
58,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the
American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of
library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure
access to information for all.
About The Harwood Institute
The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Md.,
that teaches and coaches people and organizations to solve pressing problems and change how communities
work together. The institute is guided by Richard C. Harwood, whose transformational work during the
past 25 years has spread to thousands of communities nationally and worldwide, from small towns to large