What Is Community Engagement?

A young man sitting in an auditorium speaking with people listening behind himCommunity engagement is the process of working collaboratively with community members — be they library customers, residents, faculty, students or partner organizations— to address issues for the betterment of the community.

As champions of lifelong learning, libraries are a place to quench curiosity, access technology, and explore new ideas, hobbies, and careers. Increasingly, libraries also offer patrons a welcoming space to meet their neighbors to discuss and resolve important issues.

In response to the growing call for community engagement resources, the ۰̨ͼ (ALA) created Libraries Transforming Communities, an initiative that reimagines the role libraries play in supporting communities.

What types of libraries are doing community engagement?

Libraries of all types, from across the country, have utilized the free dialogue and deliberation training and resources offered through Libraries Transforming Communities. You, too, can use these materials to:

  • Lead community or campus forums
  • Take part in anti-violence activities
  • Provide a safe space for residents to come together to discuss challenging topics
  • Have productive conversations with your library trustees or staff

Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). 

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Get started with the free e-course, "Libraries Transforming Communities: Facilitation Skills for Small and Rural Libraries."

LTC: Accessible Small and Rural Communities will offer more than $7 million in grants to better serve people with disabilities.

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Learn basic facilitation skills with ALA's free guide, "Leading Conversations in Small and Rural Libraries."