The Facilitator's Toolbox

we can work it out.jpegThe Facilitator's Toolbox virtual workshops for Michigan library staff

Registration is now open for four additional sessions of virtual training for Michigan library staff on facilitating meetings and conversations, offered by MCLS in partnership with the Library of Michigan. This workshop is being offered in September 2021, two sessions each of Part I (Make your meetings effective, efficient, and fun!) and Part II (Practical skills for responding to conflict and coming to agreement). These hands-on trainings will be limited to 12 participants, which will allow for plenty of personal attention and lots of interactive practice activities.

Who are these workshops for?

Skills which will be taught and practiced can be used in a variety of settings including staff and work meetings, strategic planning sessions, one-on-one interactions with library patrons, library sponsored community conversations, and focus groups. They will include learning theory, as well as practice of skills and peer feedback. Because they are funded by the Library of Michigan, these trainings are only open to staff of Michigan libraries, but are open to and encouraged for those of all levels and roles.

What topics will these workshops cover?

Past trainings were updated and renamed last year to more accurately represent what they cover and who should attend. The upcoming sessions are repeats of the 2020 Facilitator's Toolbox workshops, in order to allow more people to attend. Content is similar to the "Facilitation Training: Basic" and "Facilitation Trainings: Advanced (Coming to Agreement and Handling Conflict)" that were offered around the state the two years prior, with some additional information on facilitating virtually.

The current training sessions offered are:
The Facilitator’s Toolbox - Part 1: Make your meetings effective, efficient, and fun!
The Facilitator’s Toolbox - Part 2: Practical skills for responding to conflict and coming to agreement.

These sessions will include some modeling of and information on hosting meetings virtually - a skill that is all the more important for staff of libraries in our current and post-pandemic reality!

The trainings stand alone for registration, but you must attend Part I before attending Part II.

Who will teach these workshops?we can work it out people.jpg

We are pleased to once again, for the fourth year, be offering these workshops developed and taught by Mary King and Sarah Ross, principal partners of We Can Work It Out, LLC.

Mary and Sarah specialize in facilitating large group discussions and decision-making processes. Their facilitator training curricula draws upon 25 years of shared experience working with groups in public, private, and nonprofit sectors, and is grounded in a hands-on, practice-centered approach. Together, they bring a vibrant, dynamic approach to group decision-making processes with a relentless focus on finding agreement. These trainings have been honed over four years of working with MCLS to provide quality training specifically for use of library staff.

Requirements for attendance

These are highly interactive virtual workshops, and you will gain hands-on practice and expert and peer feedback in using the facilitation tools that are taught. Attendees must have a microphone enabled and turn their cameras on for full participation, and attend the full day.

There are no special qualifications needed to attend Part 1; we hope many of you from all roles in libraries will consider how this training can impact your work leading and participating in meetings. There is a prerequisite to attend Part 2 that you either attend Part 1 first, or have already attended We Can Work It Out's "Basic" training through MCLS in 2018 or 2019. It will be important that all attendees at Part 2 start from the same place of knowledge and information in order to maximize the fruitfulness of the training.

When and where?

The Facilitator’s Toolbox - Part 1: Make your meetings effective, efficient, and fun!
Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, 10am-4pm Eastern
Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, 10am-4pm Eastern

The Facilitator’s Toolbox - Part 2: Practical skills for responding to conflict and coming to agreement.
Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, 9:30am-4pm Eastern
Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, 9:30am-4pm Eastern

All sessions will be held over Zoom.


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


Registration is now open, first-come, first-served until full, through the MCLS Store!


Workshop or registration questions? Contact Gwen at

imls_logo_2c (002).jpg lib-mich.jpg
This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Additional support provided by the Library of Michigan.