Community Narratives

Every community has a unique story. Surveys, focus groups, and demographic information are not enough to discover what a community's true aspirations are. Without deeply listening and asking the right questions one cannot hear and understand what each community can tell us about itself. On this page are examples of Public Knowledge – Community Narratives written by Michigan libraries about the communities they serve and deeply listen to.


Bad Axe Area District Library

Community pride means making our city an attractive place where people want to stop and visit, even if they are passing through on their way to someplace else. It means having an appealing downtown area with coordinated, attractive storefronts and neighborhood streets with well-cared-for homes and lawns.

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Caro Area District Library

The Spark - What kind of community do you want to live in? When is the last time you were asked that? Over the past five months, Caro Area District Library has asked this of many local residents. We want to know their aspirations, what they see as challenges to those goals, how we as a community could take action to achieve these goals, and who they trust to accomplish these things.

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Putnam District Library

In the area of being a thriving community, there are many questions. What connections exist between local businesses, schools, and organizations that could strengthen the economy? How do socioeconomic differences prevent us from thriving? Is there a vision for the future? Do we know what makes people want to stay in this area? Are we open to change and growth? Would we support a larger company or be afraid to risk the small town atmosphere? What drives people to Nashville? What makes or would make them stop their car here?

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Ypsilanti District Library

People said they want a community that is safe and welcoming with a positive image, is economically thriving for the benefit of all, is inclusive, vibrant, and more integrated, values youth and offers a quality education and a broad range of opportunities, and places a focus on environmental stewardship.

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Available courses

This forum is open to anyone who participated in any of the three cohorts or has undergone Harwood training.  This is an open environment where you are encouraged to share, ask for advice, and collaborate. The intention is for you to learn from one another and make more informed and intentional choices with your engagement activities. As a cohort we are striving to make our communities stronger by creating deeper connections between our libraries and our communities. Our collective mind and shared experience will benefit from everyone’s participation.

This forum is open to only 2017 cohort members who are meeting Cheryl for their coaching calls.  This is where you will find information from the coaching calls, including documents and links. This an open environment where you are encouraged to share, ask for advice, and collaborate. The intention is for you to learn from one another and make more informed and intentional choices with your engagement activities. As a cohort we are striving to make our communities stronger by creating deeper connections between our libraries and our communities. Our collective mind and shared experience will benefit from everyone’s participation.

This forum is open to only 2017 cohort members who are meeting Cheryl for their coaching calls.  This is where you will find information from the coaching calls, including documents and links. This an open environment where you are encouraged to share, ask for advice, and collaborate. The intention is for you to learn from one another and make more informed and intentional choices with your engagement activities. As a cohort we are striving to make our communities stronger by creating deeper connections between our libraries and our communities. Our collective mind and shared experience will benefit from everyone’s participation.