Upcoming workshop, presentation and panel at Computers in Libraries 2023

Libraries as Catalysts for Community Sustainability: Sparking Imagination and Innovation

I will be at Computers in Libraries this March – Check out how you can meet me there and what sessions I am doing – and see the rest of the amazing program too.

Libraries have always been a hub for knowledge, learning, and community building. They have evolved over time, adapting to the changing needs of their users. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the role of libraries in promoting community sustainability. Libraries can act as catalysts for change, fostering awareness and providing tools and resources for communities to work towards a better environment.

Jan Holmquist, a global librarian and library and leadership consultant, emphasizes the need for libraries to use the global goals as a strategic framework. He suggests that libraries can provide learning opportunities for their communities and equip them with the skills to work on projects that impact the global goals, such as climate change. Holmquist also shares best practices from around the world and encourages libraries to use design thinking to generate new ideas.

In addition to providing learning opportunities, libraries can also showcase good examples from their community and provide basic skills in this area. The focus should be on supporting community learning and sharing practical tools and techniques. Holmquist’s workshop provides hands-on tools for libraries to use in their everyday work and spark their imagination for community innovation.

The idea of libraries as catalysts for community sustainability is not new. Library associations such as IFLA have created projects and resources to support libraries in this role. The speakers Marydee Ojala (Editor, Online Searcher) from the US and Jan from Denmark, also share easy hands-on tips on how to get started with community sustainability in libraries and maintain its focus. The aim is to inspire attendees with practical examples that they can take back to their communities.

As leaders in their communities, library professionals and library leaders need to ask powerful questions that prompt them to reframe situations and connect seemingly unrelated concepts to the appropriate solution. In the current context of exponential change and uncertainty, the decisions and solutions cannot always be based on past experiences. Asking strategic questions can lead to powerful thinking, strategies, and actions.

In conclusion, libraries have the potential to play a crucial role in promoting community sustainability. They can act as catalysts for change, providing learning opportunities, showcasing good examples, and supporting community learning. Library professionals can use design thinking and ask strategic questions to spark imagination and innovation in their communities. By doing so, they can contribute to a better environment for their communities and the world.

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