Learn about approaches for initiating, managing, and sustaining collaborations through the resources below.

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Collective Impact

Marsha L. Semmel (2015)
“Collective Impact” and STEM Learning: Joining Forces to Make a Difference in Communities
Principal, Marsha Semmel Consulting

*Presented at the 2015 Public Libraries & STEM Conference. View Conference Program

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Today, policy makers, funders, and government agencies alike are grappling with the need to use resources efficiently and effectively in order to make a measurable difference in addressing some of today’s pressing significant social, cultural, and educational challenges. When dealing with such “wicked problems” as domestic abuse, health and nutrition, poverty, educational achievement, and STEM learning, it’s not enough for an organization to deliver results that contribute only to its bottom line. Increasingly, authorizers and supporters are promoting a “collective impact” approach that moves beyond individual organizational effectiveness to foster (and even require) multi-organization collaboration to drive systemic change. This presentation describes collective impact and its evolution in the policy, philanthropic, and programmatic arenas, with a specific focus on STEM learning. When is it appropriate to use a collective impact approach? What are some examples of STEM-related collective impact efforts, including those involving libraries? What types of STEM-relevant collective impact ‘metrics’ and evaluation strategies have been developed, and what are the implications for libraries engaging the STEM arena?

Museum & Community Partnerships

NISE Net: Catherine McCarthy and Brad Herring (2015)
Collaboration Guide: For museums working with community youth-serving organizations

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Convening Community Conversations

Amy K. Garmer (2014)
Rising to the Challenge: Re-envisioning Public Libraries 
The Aspen Institute

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Visit our Community Dialogues website

The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation (2015)
Libraries Transforming Communities: A step-by-step guide to “turning outward” to your community.

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NCIL, in partnership with the Lunar and Planetary Institute, received funding from the National Science Foundation for the first-ever Public Libraries & STEM conference that took place at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel in Colorado, August 20-22, 2015. This invitation-only conference brought 150+ library and STEM professionals and funders together to build productive relationships; explore promising practices in designing effective programs; help define a 21st century vision of STEM learning in public libraries; and develop the foundation for a future evaluation and research agenda for libraries and their partners engaged in STEM education efforts. The conference background reports, presentation files, and results were used as the foundation of the resources compiled For more information, download the following documents.

Conference Summary | Conference Evaluation Report | Public Libraries and STEM

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers DRL-1413783 and DRL-1421427. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.