Re-thinking public libraries can set communities on the path to success in the digital era. But what’s the best way to go about the re-envisioning process? Based on research conducted by ICMA, The Aspen Institute created a blueprint on how best to move forward. "The Action Guide" includes assessment tools and three pathways to follow, as well as some questions to help the community and library develop strategies and implement actions for deploying the library’s key assets in new ways to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
- In what ways is your library supporting local community goals? Public libraries that align their services to support local community goals will find the greatest opportunities for success. This will require collaboration among libraries, policymakers, and community partners to redefine the role of libraries as institutions that inspire learning, drive development, grow social capital, and create opportunities.
- What capacity and resources does your library have to plan and implement new technologies as the information environment and content industries continue to evolve? As the public library shifts from a repository for materials to a platform for learning and participation, its ability to provide access to vast amounts of content in all formats is vital. Libraries face two immediate major challenges in providing access to content in all forms: (1) being able to procure and share e-books and other digital content on the same basis as physical versions, and (2) having high capacity, easily scalable broadband technologies in every library that deliver and help to create content.
- How do you build a more sustainable future on the strengths and priorities that are in place? Public libraries need to transform their service model to meet the demands of the knowledge society, while securing a sustainable funding base for the future.
- In what ways are you cultivating leaders in the community to support your library? Leadership is needed to build communities and public libraries that thrive and succeed together. Every community needs a vision and a strategic plan, with input from all stakeholder groups.
To find out how one county has used "The Action Guide" and hear from the director of the Aspen Institute, join the ICMA webinar Public Library Innovations: A Story of Community Engagement on July 12.