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Reach Out, Engage and Learn from Your Community!

Public libraries are vital community centers offering resources, activities, and other learning opportunities. In order to best serve their communities, libraries must look outward to discover more about how community members think and feel about important topics and to make connections with local organizations and partners that can help address these issues to achieve a common goal. Community Dialogues are one way in which libraries can more fully engage and learn from the communities that they serve.

STAR Net has developed a guide that provides information for public libraries on how to host and conduct Community Dialogues. This guide is a tested and vetted resource for all public libraries to begin the conversations that can lead to building strong, durable relationships with their community. Discover how opening your doors can open new doors!

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Background Information

Community Dialogues Guide Cover

What is a Community Dialogue?

Community Dialogue is a loosely facilitated discussion that provides the opportunity for library staff and community leaders or members to discuss common, community-based challenges or aspirations.

Community Dialogues can help your library:

  • Expand your understanding of patrons’ feelings about their local library and its programs, including programming related to STEM
  • Obtain meaningful feedback from the community on who visits the library and why
  • Have a conversation about how the library can better serve ethnically, economically, and geographically underserved and underrepresented audiences
  • Better connect with local organizations and potential future partnersthat have shared interests with the library and community

These events are about more than leaving the room with a list of to-dos and answers to all the questions. Rather, they are about discussing topics and issues in an inclusive and uninhibited environment, with community representatives and stakeholders.

Library Quotes

“One of the challenges of working in libraries is that due to developments in technology, among other things, our targets are always shifting, and this is a great way to make sure we are on track to meet our patron’s needs.”

April Griffith, Carnegie Public Library

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