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Community Conversations

Harwood Community Conversations are designed to take between 90 minutes and two hours. They are open ended, yet directed conversations with usually from 8-12 participants. The participants begin by reflecting and describing what their aspirations for their community are. The facilitator asks specific questions to explore those concepts deeper. Within the framework of a group conversation information which would not be derived by survey or one on one interview percolates up. This information is what Harwood describes as "public knowledge". Working with the public knowledge those leading the process are able to identify themes, purpose, partners, and challenges to the communities' aspirations.

The purpose for these conversations is many fold. On one level they open doors for networking and collaboration that librarians of different types, or from different institutions, would never have know existed. On another level these conversations demonstrate to librarians the value of sitting down with their community, whether town, institution or campus. By asking participants the open ended question of what they truly aspire to for their community initiates a positive conversation. Often complete strangers quickly find common ground and purpose.

As of September 2016 MCLS has conducted over 50 Community Conversations across Indiana and Michigan. These conversations have included hundreds of library staff. Additionally, MCLS, often with a partner organization, have, and continue to conduct presentations and interactive sessions concerning Harwood at conferences, speaking at professional development events, and working with individual library groups. Several presentations and events stemming from information we learned in the Community Conversations are slated for 2016.

2016 Indiana conversations

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(A series of two sets of conversations - Spring and Summer)

2016 Michigan conversations

2016 Updated Michigan Community Narrativepdf-icon.png

2016 Michigan Conversations Full Summary Report pdf-icon.png

(A series of two sets of conversations - Spring and Summer)

2014 Indiana conversations

2014 Indiana Community Narrative

2014 Michigan conversations

(A series of two sets of conversations - Spring and Fall)

2014 Michigan Community Narrative

2013 Indiana conversations