LEAP 2021 (for MI library staff)

LEAP-2021 logo.jpg Libraries Engaging Appreciatively for Positive Change (LEAP) 2021

MCLS, as a continuation of our partnership with the Library of Michigan and our shared Michigan Libraries Engage new-window-icon.png project, held a special virtual event on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021 for Michigan library staff of all levels.

What is LEAP?

In late 2019, we started planning the event that would become LEAP (Libraries Engage Appreciatively for Positive Change) 2020 as a way to bring the processes and practices of Appreciative Inquiry to Michigan libraries as part of their toolbox for community engagement. In the wake of disruptions and closures caused by COVID-19, libraries prioritized the need to reengage with their communities one conversation, one patron at a time. LEAP evolved into a virtual event designed to help libraries do just that! We hosted a cohort of 77 participants, and LEAP 2020 was a huge success. This year, we brought a second cohort together to learn about Appreciative Inquiry and how it can benefit them as library staff and in their personal lives.

LEAP Day, along with six optional monthly LEAP Forward virtual facilitated learning and coaching sessions to follow, was intended to help participants feel equipped and inspired to work toward engaging their communities in new ways as we continue to navigate our mid-pandemic, and move toward a post-pandemic, world. Participants were introduced to processes and tools of Appreciative Inquiry to help them focus on their library’s strengths and build upon them in order to reconnect with their patrons and wider community. The learning can also be applied to strengthening every conversation in life, from personal to professional.

Who was this event for?

LEAP 2021 was open to library staff of ALL levels and roles, and was of benefit to anyone working on (or interested in working on) engaging their community. It also benefited those who wanted to strengthen or deepen conversations with others. Because this program was funded by the Library of Michigan, it was only open to staff of Michigan libraries. The cohort included thirty-three (33) participants from libraries all over the state of Michigan.

Who facilitated this program?

Maureen (Mo) McKenna of Return on Energy Consulting new-window-icon.png, an internationally respected and highly sought-out expert in the field of Appreciative Inquiry, facilitated the LEAP 2021 event along with MCLS's Engagement, Consulting, & Training team. Mo and members of the MCLS ECT Team facilitated the LEAP Forward process through May 2022.

What is Appreciative Inquiry?

Appreciative Inquiry is a tested and respected approach to community engagement that focuses on positive aspects of change and drawing out and building on existing strengths. It also highlights the importance of collaborative conversations, dialogue, and stories.

When and where?

Thursday, November 4, 2021
9:30am - 4:30pm Eastern
The event was held over Zoom, as were the monthly coaching sessions


Because the Library of Michigan wants to support Michigan library staff in growing their skills toward the goal of stronger community engagement, registration was highly subsidized and was just $40 per person, including all materials.

Questions about the LEAP program?

Contact MCLS's Engagement, Consulting, & Training team at

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This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services new-window-icon.png. Additional support was provided by the Library of Michigan new-window-icon.png.