Tell Me Something I Don’t Know – Meaningful Community Engagement

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Start Time:
Pacific – 12 PM, Mountain – 1 PM, Central – 2 PM, Eastern – 3 PM
Presenter: : George Needham and Joan Frye Williams


When you ask civilians (those people who are neither library workers nor our closest advisers, such as Friends and Trustees) what they would like to see in their libraries, they generally give predictable, and predictably narrow, answers. They want what they’ve always known in libraries, only more of it and during more open hours. Or they “envision” services we’ve been offering for years without their knowing it. This can be quite frustrating as we try to re-imagine libraries for the 21st Century.

Don’t misunderstand: library consultants Joan Frye Williams and George Needham strongly believe that it’s important to involve the people we serve in library planning and evaluation, but traditional approaches to community engagement are often far too expensive and time consuming for the limited results they produce. They can also be downright boring for all concerned!

This one-hour webinar will offer a lively look at practical, affordable, enjoyable techniques for garnering civilian input without surrendering professional judgment. George and Joan will discuss how to:

  • Talk about the future without pretending to be psychic
  • Reach the right stakeholders, and ask them the right questions
  • Elicit ideas that expand everyone’s thinking about your community and your library
  • Translate those ideas into real directions and initiatives

George and Joan have demonstrated in a variety of library settings that a few well-phrased and properly directed questions can provide considerably more illumination than thousands of satisfaction surveys or sticky dots on flip chart paper. Whether you are starting a new planning process, working through major service changes, or just curious about how to know and serve your community better, you’ll want to join this conversation!

This webinar will be of interest to librarians in all types of libraries, as well as library friends, trustees, commissioners, fundraisers, planners, architects, and marketing staff.

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