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Community Conversations 2023

2023 Community Conversations Report

Summary of Engagement

The Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS) undertook a series of Community Conversations. The Conversations were based on The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation’s model of community engagement, which seeks to “Turn Outward” to the community to determine their aspirations, and, in turn, to prioritize services that are in alignment with the true needs of the community. This report summarizes the process and resulting themes that were identified.

Consultants from MCLS’s Engagement, Consulting, and Training team facilitated ten (10) virtual Community Conversations in February 2023. The Conversations were opportunities for staff from libraries, affiliated associations, and organizations throughout Indiana and Michigan to discuss their aspirations for the community and the concerns they have about reaching those aspirations, and to identify areas of potential action to help the community reach their aspirations and to identify trusted organizations that could help facilitate that action. Fifty-eight members of the Indiana and Michigan library community participated in the Community Conversations; 33 from Indiana and 25 from Michigan; 28 from public libraries, 24 from academic libraries, 1 from a school library, and 5 from special libraries or other affiliated associations or organizations.

READ THE REPORT pdf-icon.png


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Registration has closed for these Community Conversations. Thank you to all who participated!

If you were not able to participate but want to share input, please email Pam Seabolt, Manager of Engagement, Consulting, & Training at seaboltp@mcls.org to schedule a 30 minute one-on-one Conversation.

We want to hear from you!

As MCLS prepares to embark on a strategic planning process in 2023, we want to engage with the library community in Indiana and Michigan through a series of Community Conversations.

This engagement process is an opportunity to hear from our community — staff from libraries and affiliated associations and organizations throughout Indiana and Michigan — about their aspirations and concerns. The knowledge gathered will help inform future priorities of MCLS as we plan how to serve you more fully over the next several years.

These roundtable Community Conversations are based on engagement tools from The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation new-window-icon.png and are designed to involve up to 12 people at each session and last approximately 90 minutes. We will facilitate 12 virtual Community Conversations via Zoom between Feb. 6 and 18 at a variety of times to strive to allow maximum participation. The Conversations are open to any library staff in any type of library in Indiana and Michigan. We hope to hear from YOU! You don't need to be an expert; just come and share your hopes and concerns for libraries and your perspective.

Register today to reserve your spot and receive a link to join us!

Please only register for one session. Multiple sessions have been scheduled to allow many voices to be heard, but spots are limited.

Monday, Feb. 6, 3-4:30pm Eastern (2-3:30pm Central)
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 10-11:30am Eastern (9-10:30am Central)
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 12-1:30pm Eastern (11am-12:30pm Central)
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 6:30-8pm Eastern (5:30-7pm Central)
Thursday, Feb. 9, 9-10:30am Eastern (8-9:30am Central)
Friday, Feb. 10, 2-3:30pm Eastern (1-2:30pm Central)
Saturday, Feb. 11, 9-10:30am Eastern (8-9:30am Central)
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 10-11:30am Eastern (9-10:30am Central)
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 3:30-5pm Eastern (2:30-4pm Central)
Thursday, Feb. 16, 2-3:30pm Eastern (1-2:30pm Central)
Thursday, Feb. 16, 8-9:30pm Eastern (7-8:30pm Central)
Friday, Feb. 17, 10-11:30am Eastern (9-10:30am Central)

If the Conversations fill up we will create waiting lists and possibly add sessions. If the only session you can make has filled, please email engagement@mcls.org and let us know your full name, library name, library city and state, your job title/role, and which session you would like to be put on a waiting list for.

Questions? Contact MCLS's Engagement, Consulting, & Training team at engagement@mcls.org.