Inspired Collaboration: Ideas for Discovering and Applying Your Potential — eEditions e-book

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author
  • Reviews

with Susan M. Mitchell, Cen Campbell, Rolf Grafwallner, Kathleen Reif, and Stephanie Mareck Shauck 

"This lovely book on collaboration is just terrific. So useful, timely and inspiring."
— Ellen M. Riordan, Immediate Past President 2014-15 of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)

"Aside from the useful content of this book and powerful examples of collaborations, it is both inspiring and thought provoking to see how everything is woven together for the reader, no matter who the collaborator."
— Saroj Nadkarni Ghoting, early childhood literacy consultant and trainer

"I am so impressed with this wonderful publication, Inspired Collaboration. No matter the starting point for a library in terms of community collaboration, this book reveals the power of libraries to improve our internal and external relationships, increase our optimism for the future of libraries, and transform our programs and services from good to great. I highly recommend it."
— Paula M. Singer, Ph.D., The Singer Group, Inc.

"[This book] is an important added resource for our work with Family Place Libraries™."
— Kathleen Deerr, National Coordinator, Family Place Libraries™

Collaboration involves a fusion of individual talents and skills through outreach and cooperation. And it is one of the key ingredients of a vibrant, successful library that is also relevant to the community it serves.  But it doesn't just happen magically, and it's a challenge to kindle those original sparks of inspiration into a sustainable effort. Written by a team of librarians and community partners who themselves learned how to collaborate successfully, this uplifting book takes a fresh look at the essentials of how to nurture the best within ourselves and our colleagues in order to create lasting partnerships that will continue to thrive. Its breezy tone encourages reflection and discovery while giving practical suggestions on how to plan for short-term gains and long-term results. Questions and points to ponder included at the end of each chapter will facilitate discussion and planning. Helping you harness creative thinking and channel it into everyday work, this book


  • discusses why collaboration is so important and provides numerous tips for cultivating it;
  • examines what to do when things go wrong, including techniques for generating patience and perseverance to help produce positive results;
  • offers new ways to plan and implement, featuring guidance on how to establish a core group;
  • explores ways to prioritize by starting with clear goals;
  • describes the fundamentals of engaging with fellow staff and the wider community; and
  • highlights ideas to spark curiosity that benefit everyone.

An array of appendices with worksheets, examples, suggested readings, and other tools complete this celebration of collaboration, a book that will inspire effective communication and accountability within your organization and among community allies.

Check out this title's Web Extra!


Introduction: Let's Celebrate!



Part I    Why Collaborate?

Chapter 1    The Library's Role
Chapter 2    Working Together





Part II    The Trials of Collaboration

Chapter 3    Too Much Red Tape
Chapter 4    Striving for Excellence
Chapter 5    Gaining Insight
Chapter 6    Staying Above the Fray





Part III    A New Way to Plan and Implement

Chapter 7    Creating Your Future
Chapter 8    Putting Your Principles to Work
Chapter 9    Avoiding Tales of Woe—or Whoa!
Chapter 10    Practical Implementation





Part IV    Engagement—The Heart of Collaboration

Chapter 11    Growing and Flourishing
Chapter 12    Sparking Curiosity
Chapter 13    Engaging Your Community
Chapter 14    It's Magic!
Chapter 15    Everyday Efforts, Everyday Greatness
Chapter 16    Inspiring Your Community
Chapter 17    Celebrating Success!





Appendix A    Worksheet: Growing My Community Collaboration
Appendix B    Using Critical Incidents to Build Leadership Competence
Appendix C    Strategies Inventory: Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge
Appendix D    Action Plan Sample: Aligned Action Commitments for Early Childhood Advisory Councils
Appendix E    Colorado Example: Earlier Is Easier
Appendix F    Pondering Everyday Wisdom
Appendix G    ALA Web Extras: Collaboration in Practice
Appendix H    Suggested Reading



Dorothy Stoltz

Dorothy Stoltz is director for community engagement at the Carroll County (MD) Public Library. She is the coauthor of several books and articles for the American Library Association, including Inspired Collaboration: Ideas for Discovering and Applying Your Potential (2016). With more than thirty-five years of experience in public libraries, she is active in the Library Leadership & Management Association, the Public Library Association, and the Association for Library Service to Children.

”Rather than simply providing a formula for building and managing successful collaborations, this book aims to 'uplift the quality of human life' in practical ways through library services ... this book gives a blueprint for positive ways to deal with awkward situations, grumpy library visitors, difficult co-workers, and less-than-perfect community partners. If you’ve had any of these situations, but want to build long-lasting inspired collaborations that work AND bring joy to you and to others, this book is a MUST READ."
— Mother Goose on the Loose newsletter

”This work is designed to be an interactive teaching tool. Each chapter ends with questions and considerations meant to facilitate discussion and spark creativity … This will serve as a great resource in the professional collection of a public library or as a library school textbook."
— Library Journal

“[A] thorough primer for librarians who may be familiar with the terms community engagement and collaboration but need guidance to begin their own processes.”
— Booklist

”A timely book … Offers various resources that can assist libraries in this process, from preliminary steps to meeting challenges and celebrating success. All the questions, comparisons, and practical examples blanket the text with points of insight and reflection."
— Public Libraries