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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors

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This down-to-earth guide introduces readers to community-led planning, a method for putting equity and inclusion values into practice through programs, services, spaces, and decisions that center and empower communities.

Libraries want to be more responsive to their diverse communities. Yet many libraries lack the structures, cultures, and mindsets to sustain community-led methods. This book lays out an evidence-based, twelve-step process that will help you transform your library in ways that serve your unique community effectively. Whether you’re an administrator, middle manager, or front-line library worker, the concrete strategies presented here will show you how to integrate community-led planning into your day-to-day activities. Anchored in original research by its authors and bolstered by real-world examples, this book

  • introduces the foundations of community-led planning, including what it means, why it matters, and how to do it well;
  • takes you through a twelve-step process, adaptable to libraries of any size or budget and serving any type of community, to fundamentally shift your organization towards more equitable and community-centered ways of thinking;
  • presents strategies for success, pitfalls to avoid, lessons from case studies, and key takeaways for each step; and
  • offers tools to assess your organization’s capacity, evaluate your progress, adapt, and troubleshoot.

Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.

Introduction: The Community Is the Heart of the Library

Part I: Foundations
Chapter 1: Community-Led Planning 101: What it Means and Why it Matters 
Chapter 2: Relationship to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice
Chapter 3: How to Conduct Community-Led Planning 
Chapter 4: Assessing your Library’s Community-Led Capacity
Chapter 5: The Community-Led Capacity-Building (CoLaB) Model 

Part II: Phase One: Inspirational Change 
Step 1: Set Clear Expectations
Step 2: Train for Understanding, Not Procedure 
Step 3: Connect to Core Values

Part III: Phase Two: Transformational Change 
Step 4: Foster a Growth Mindset
Step 5: Develop Psychological Safety for a Culture of Inclusive Innovation
Step 6: Make Time and Space for Reflection
Step 7: Prioritize Interpersonal Skills and Cultural Humility 
Step 8: Apply Prior Knowledge 
Step 9: Build Community Knowledge through Relationships

Part IV:  Phase Three: Operational Change 
Step 10: Give Staff Time and Authority to Build Relationships
Step 11: Make It Everyone’s Work
Step 12: Measure Success through Relationships
Part V: Evaluating, Adapting, and Troubleshooting  

Conclusion: Moving Forward and Coming Back

Audrey Barbakoff

Audrey Barbakoff is the CEO of Co/lab Capacity LLC, which provides community-centered consulting for libraries and social good organizations. During more than a decade in public libraries, her work was recognized by Library Journal Movers & Shakers, the Urban Libraries Council Top Innovators, and the Freedom to Read Foundation. Dr. Barbakoff holds an MLIS from the University of Washington and an EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California. She is co-author of The 12 Steps to a Community-Led Library, and author of Adults Just Wanna Have Fun: Programs for Emerging Adults and the forthcoming picture book The Schlemiel Kids Save the Moon. 

Noah Lenstra

Noah Lenstra is an associate professor of library and information science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he brings a community organizing approach to the teaching and research of public librarianship. Since 2016, Dr. Lenstra has managed the Let’s Move in Libraries initiative, an online space for sharing stories and resources related to public library participation in community health initiatives related to food or physical activity. Dr. Lenstra holds doctoral and master’s degrees in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.