What is Community Engagement?
“The process of working collaboratively with community members — be they library customers, residents, faculty, students or partner organizations — to address issues for the betterment of the community.” (American Library Association)
In short, the Clark County Public Library wants to engage Springfield & Clark County by:
LISTENING & SHARING
How does the library engage with the community?
The CCPL Community Engagement Team uses the "Turning Outward" approach, developed by the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation:
We start by putting the community at the heart of what we do, and focus on people's hopes for their community.
Go Into the Community
Using tools such as Community Gardens and Community Conversations, we listen to people talk about their hopes, their concerns, and ideas for action moving forward. We take this information and summarize it into what's called a Community Narrative.
Share What You Learn
We share this Community Narrative with individuals & organizations that people said they could trust. We gather these individuals & organizations together in meetings called Innovation Spaces, to focus on what we're learning from the Community Narrative.
Based on the Community Narrative, and the community's stage of life (or Community Rhythm), the library and these individuals & organizations form a Community Engagement Plan, and share it with the community. The goal is to start with small, purposeful actions that not only help to address issues, but also build trust and connection.
What is the library’s end goal?
We want to not only strengthen our services to remain impactful and relevant, but to strengthen the entire community, by acting as a connector. CCPL connects people to information every day, and in connecting people to information about their community, we are tying into our mission. Using a term from the Harwood Institute, the library wants to become a BOUNDARY SPANNING ORGANIZATION, one that is committed to helping the community see their shared aspirations and concerns, empowering them to take action, while working to build trust and connection and preserve community culture at the same time.