MCLS Twitter chat on library partnerships

With Emily Bunyan, Director, Knox County (IN) Public Library

  1. Welcome to our Twitter chat on library partnerships! #mclschat
  2. Hello to our guest expert, Public Innovator, Emily Bunyan @Angelnu4 #mclschat
  3. So happy to talk about community partnerships with you this afternoon. #mclschat
  4. Q1. Why should libraries work with partners? #mclschat
  5. A1: The community is the heart of the library. #mclschat
  6. A1: Working with partners causes the library to always consider the issues and needs of the community as a whole. #mclschat
  7. A1: Through our work with other community organizations we learn what’s really important to people. #mclschat
  8. A1: We develop what the Harwood approach defines as public knowledge. #mclschat
  9. A1: It helps us focus on the Public Capital-conditions for change that enable communities to move forward. #mclschat
  10. Q2. How do you identify and connect with partners in the community? #mclschat
  11. A2. The library offers meeting room space to a variety of partners in the community. #mclschat
  12. A2. Rotary, the hospital, county government, tourism groups such as the Bicentennial committee #mclschat
  13. A2. genealogical society, women’s clubs, local schools, churches, and the local university. #mclschat
  14. A2. Library staff members identify and connect with partners who visit the library to use meeting rooms. #mclschat
  15. A2. Partners are found through relationships that grow from involvement of staff members in local organizations #mclschat
  16. A2. Such as United Way, Civitan, preservation groups, historical societies and other organizations. #mclschat
  17. A2. Often the partners identify the library as a partner. #mclschat
  18. A2. In 1991, Cargill, Inc. identified the library as a partner for adult literacy. #mclschat
  19. A2. The corporation was required to create a fund raiser for adult literacy and contacted me. #mclschat
  20. A2. Now celebrating its 25th year the Cargill Literacy Quiz Bowl helps adults learning to read and improve skills. #mclschat
  21. Q3. What are some examples of community organizations that you partner with? #mclschat
  22. A3. Examples include the ones I’ve mentioned previously and summer reading program partners: #mclschat
  23. A3. George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, Knox County Park, State Historic Sites, #mclschat
  24. A3. Grouseland, home of 9th U.S. President, William Henry Harrison and Purdue Extension educators. #mclschat
  25. A3. Other partners include social service agencies such as food pantries and temporary housing shelters #mclschat
  26. A3. individuals who are public innovators, businesses, local media outlets and non-profit entities. #mclschat
  27. Q4. Who would you consider your library’s most valuable partner and why? #mclschat
  28. A4. Local city and county governmental entities are the library’s most valuable partners. #mclschat
  29. A4. We all share the same tax base; a form of Public Capital. #mclschat
  30. A4. City/county elected officials meet regularly with us to discuss strategic goals for the community as a whole. #mclschat
  31. A4. Local elected officials appoint library board members who govern the library. #mclschat
  32. How do you start these partnerships? What do you do together once these are formed? #mclschat
  33. @AnnaZichiCurtis Many are project based such as the Cargill Quiz Bowl, an annual event. #mclschat
  34. @AnnaZichiCurtis Partnerships are also ongoing such as networking with local governmental entities. #mclschat
  35. Oh... I do plenty of local government networking! :) I'm a city library that contracts with the two local townships #mclschat
  36. Hi Emily, this is Ginger Rogers at Owen County, how do you partner with the temporary housing shelters? #mclschat
  37. @GingerR89226564 Hi Ginger! Sometimes people looking for shelter come to the library for help. #mclschat
  38. @GingerR89226564 Library staff members contact the women's shelter and the men's shelter to assist these patrons. #mclschat
  39. Our community set up a rotating shelter, where different churches provide a meal and a sleeping place for people through winter #mclschat
  40. The local library refers people to this service, and our intake building is right next door to the public library. #mclschat
  41. @susanpowers333 The library is a boundary spanning organization; connecting people needing shelter with people at the shelters. #mclschat
  42. @meldotorg @Angelnu4 Yes, of course, our patrons are valuable patrons. Without patrons, there's no library. #mclschat
  43. Do you have a local university or community college? #mclschat
  44. What kinds of partnerships do you have with Vincennes University? #mclschat
  45. @susanpowers333 The Humanities Division at VU has partnered with us for years to offer cultural and arts programs at the library. #mclschat
  46. Q5. What are the factors that you consider when you are thinking about forming a partnership? #mclschat
  47. A5. Partners are chosen because they can work with the library to bring about meaningful change in the community #mclschat
  48. Q6. Is there anything that libraries need to be cautious about when partnering? #mclschat
  49. A6. Yes, partnerships must include some of the conditions that enable communities to move forward as described by Harwood #mclschat
  50. A6. If not clear about the roles and expectations of the partners a memorandum of understanding is essential #mclschat
  51. Q7. Have you ever said “no” to a partnership? Why? #mclschat
  52. A7. Yes. A partnership with work release inmates when 1 of the inmates had minor injuries during a lawn mowing accident #mclschat
  53. A7. We were informed that the inmates had no insurance protection (work comp insurance) for any work related injuries. #mclschat
  54. A7. For a rental fee of $100 for a weekend, a caterer wanted to set up a “pop up” restaurant in the library’s meeting room #mclschat
  55. A7. It has a kitchen and auditorium space. #mclschat
  56. A7. We said no because of liability concerns and the lack of public capital resulting from this arrangement. #mclschat
  57. @mclsorg We're supposed to be strategic about our partnerships. It's hard to say, "no" sometimes. #mclschat
  58. Q8. Have you ever had a partnership go bad? #mclschat
  59. A8. I wouldn’t say a partnership went bad #mclschat
  60. A8. I would say that a potential partnership might not have resulted in the two partners creating change. #mclschat
  61. A8. For example, we’ve been in talks for several months with a group about a collaborative workspace in the library #mclschat
  62. A8. after much talk & nothing firm, we need to move on w/o actually seeing a result from this potential partnership. #mclschat
  63. A8. The potential partner was a dreamer and not a doer. He always talked about starting a Think Tank and we needed a Do Tank. #mclschat
  64. Q9. How do you make sure that it’s an equal partnership, and the library isn’t doing all of the work? #mclschat
  65. A9. With the above, as the time came to commit w/a memorandum of understanding, they lost interest in the project. #mclschat
  66. A9. A memorandum of understanding would ensure that the work was equally distributed among partners. #mclschat
  67. I was just going to say, be wary of "partners" that want the library to do everything! #mclschat
  68. A9. The “division of labor” and other “inputs” such as time and funding should be explicitly stated in writing. #mclschat
  69. Love that idea of a formal agreement of everyone's roles. #mclschat
  70. A9. A timeline is important for projects with partners. There must be a beginning, middle and conclusion. #mclschat
  71. Q10. What would you consider the key elements to maintaining good partnerships once you’ve made them? #mclschat
  72. A10. The longest term partnership with the library began in 1891. #mclschat
  73. A10. That’s the year that the Fortnightly Women’s Club was founded #mclschat
  74. A10. 1 of the founding members, Ida Lusk, began a campaign to seek funding from Andrew Carnegie to build a library #mclschat
  75. A10. In 1919, Lusk’s dream was achieved when the Carnegie library was dedicated. #mclschat
  76. A10. In 1929 when the Fortnightly club across from the library was being built, club members met in the library #mclschat
  77. A10. In 2007, when the club could no longer maintain the clubhouse, they gifted it to the library. #mclschat
  78. A10. The gifting, occurred, after some intense negotiations. #mclschat
  79. A10. Fortnightly club continues to use the building for meetings and the library uses it for public gatherings. #mclschat
  80. A10. The partnership has been good because the groups have the public good as the top priority #mclschat
  81. A10. The partners have common values for enlightenment and education #mclschat
  82. A10. The partners respect each other and communicate continually. #mclschat
  83. A10. You can catch a glimpse of the building in my cover photo. #mclschat
  84. The Fortnightly club is a cool building! #mclschat
  85. You get good use of that bldg. Been to many meetings there. #mclschat
  86. Q11. What are some reasons you would end a partnership? #mclschat
  87. A11. Lack of library board support. Partners are unable to fulfill their obligations as stated at the beginning of the project. #mclschat
  88. A11. Another reason is that the partnership no longer supported the public good. #mclschat
  89. A11. Another reason is that the library is no longer able to fulfill its obligations because of budgetary cuts, space needs. #mclschat
  90. A11. Another reason is that the partnership could become one sided with the community receiving no benefits. #mclschat
  91. @mclsorg With discretion and diplomacy. Don't burn any bridges. #mclschat
  92. Q12. Is there anything else that you want to share about partnering? #mclschat
  93. A12. For me personally,as a library director, partnering with other organizations has been the most rewarding part of my career #mclschat
  94. A12. The Sweet Spot of Public Life, as defined by Harwood, is where you: #mclschat
  95. A12. “take action on issues the community cares about... #mclschat
  96. A12. in a way that builds the conditions for change in your community at the same time.” #mclschat
  97. A12. Partnerships are rewarding when you find the Sweet Spot of Public Life. #mclschat
  98. Thank you Emily @Angelnu4 for sharing your expertise! #mclschat
  99. Next month's chat will feature current library science students--we all want to know what they are learning! June 23 #mclschat