Going Outside of the Libraries for Community Conversations

Going Outside of the Libraries for Community Conversations

Posted on May 16, 2017 by Beth Doyle

David Lankes visited the area as the keynote speaker at the Sarasota Library System’s Learning Day in February. He gave an inspiring talk about the value and changing roles of libraries in our community. Dr. Lankes is the director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science, the 2016-17 Follett Chair at Dominican University’s School of Information Studies, and recipient of the American Library Association’s 2016 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship.

In his book, Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries For Today’s Complex World, he tells us that, “to thrive, communities need libraries that go beyond bricks and mortar, and beyond books and literature. They should be places of learning that advocates for our communities in terms of privacy, intellectual property, and economic development.” So much of what Dr. Lankes spoke about aligned with the Harwood practice of Turning Outward.

Three Public Innovators from the Harwood Lab in September 2016 immediately recognized the importance of going outside of the library building and into the community to gather knowledge through Community Conversations.

They shared their thoughts ...

Katresa Gardner (Sarasota) suggests that by doing Community Conversations out in the community, they will have the opportunity to reach patrons who may not come to the library.



Linda Noyce (Manatee) feels that going outside of the library – and meeting people where they are – is the best way to learn the community’s aspirations. What they learn might not be about libraries at all.



Renee Stokes (Manatee) shares that the Harwood Public Innovators Lab has inspired her to go out and have more Community Conversations.


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