Skip to main content

ALA Libraries Transforming Communities

Libraries Transforming Communities was an initiative of the American Library Association that began in April of 2014 with a cohort of 10 libraries from around the nation. These 10 libraries took part in an extensive, 18-month training to learn the Harwood Institute's Turning Outward approach and put it to use in their communities.

Known as the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) Public Innovators Cohort, these libraries spent countless hours talking to community members, learning about their aspirations and concerns, and developing action plans to help their communities reach their full potential.

While the LTC initiative ended in December 2015, the libraries' work continues.

Read more about some of their stories in the following case studies. Download the complete set of LTC case studies [PDF].

Turning Outward Tools and Webinars

At the conclusion of the initiative, ALA continued to partner with the Harwood Institute over the next several years to provide national training labs for libraries in the Turning Outward Approach. As a complement to the national labs, the ALA made Turning Outward Resources for Libraries freely available. These tools and webinars are designed to help libraries strengthen their role as community leaders and bring about positive change in their communities.

"Turning outward" is a step-by-step process developed by The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. It entails taking steps to better understand communities; changing processes and thinking to make conversations more community-focused; being proactive to community issues; and putting community aspirations first.

Taken together, these resources provide a 90-day plan to help your library "turn outward."

LTC Models for Change

The American Library Association continues its work to assist libraries in their community engagement efforts through LTC Models for Change, which includes “Dialogue and Deliberation Resources for Libraries”, a free learning series from ALA and the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation.

As trusted, neutral, safe spaces, libraries are ideal institutions to lead dialogue and deliberation efforts in communities.

But with numerous approaches to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. The American Library Association (ALA) and the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) have compiled this collection of resources to help libraries with their community engagement efforts.