Online Learning Archive

Guides for Community Discussions

The ALA Center for Civic Life, National Issues Forum (NIF) and others present a comprehensive introduction to using discussion guides for community discussions.

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Naming and Framing Public Issues

The ALA Center for Civic Life and the David Mathews Center for Civic Life host a ffree webinar series to help librarians lead their communities in dealing with challenging public issues.

Session 1: “Beyond Deadlock: A Better Way to Talk about Difficult Issues," explores hows to help people work together to talk about public issues and make choices, and how to uncover the deeper concerns of communities. Recorded Oct. 14, 2014. View the recorded presentation

Session 2: “Tools for Naming and Framing Public Issues," describes the steps and processes for leading a “naming and framing” effort, and how to apply tools that help people weigh options for moving forward together. Recorded Dec. 3, 2014. View the recorded presentation

Convening Forums @ your library: A Four-Part Series

Public deliberation is a process used to engage contentious, difficult issues from diverse perspectives. This four-part series discusses deliberative conversations that public, academic, and school libraries are convening; how these discussions are repositioning libraries in their communities; and the logistics involved in planning a forum -- from choosing the issue topic to publicizing the event to following up with participants.

Convening Forums @ your library: Getting Started (Part 1) -- Recorded Feb. 28, 2012. View the recorded presentation

Moderating Forums @ your library: Nuts and Bolts (Part 2) -- Recorded March 27, 2012. View the recorded presentation

Moderating Forums @ your library: Step by Step (Part 3) -- Recorded April 24, 2012 View the recorded presentation

Convening Forums @ your library: Nuts and Bolts (Part 4) -- Recorded May 22, 2012. View the recorded presentation

Muslim Journeys and Your Community: Managing Controversy, Maximizing Impact

Islam is the second-most widely practiced faith in the world, and international news items focus on events in Muslim-majority societies daily. Librarians face the unique challenge of reaching patrons with requested information and programming regarding this often unfamiliar culture, while managing reactions from others who may hold Islamophobic or anti-Muslim prejudices.

Librarians participating in the NEH’s Bridging Cultures Muslim Journeys initiative were invited to attend this free webinar to learn more about best practices for implementing successful Muslim Journeys programs, and responding effectively to intellectual freedom challenges. Other interested programming librarians were also welcome.

Martin Garnar, chair of ALA’s Committee on Professional Ethics, and Lesley Williams, Muslim Journeys project director from the Evanston Public Library, shared ideas and best practices based on their own experiences.


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Guides for Community Discussions: National Issues Forums (NIF) and Others

Please join us for this free, one-hour webinar about issue books, videos, and other guides available to help librarians bring their communities together to talk in productive, civil, and interesting ways. A growing and diverse array of nonpartisan, non-agenda-driven materials about important public issues are available from the National Issues Forum Institute and other sources.

Presenters for this webinar include: Patty Dineen from the National Issues Forum Institute, and Carolyn Caywood, and Nancy Kranich, both from ALA’s Center for Civic Life. They will review and show examples of available materials; describe how these guides can support engaging library programs; and give examples of how librarians have used them in their communities. Time will be available at the end of the webinar for Q&A as well as suggestions and stories.

This webinar is the fifth in a civic engagement series produced by Programming Librarian and is sponsored by the ALA Center for Civic Life and the ALA Cultural Communities Fund.


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Libraries Transforming Communities: Community Engagement Conversations

A free follow-up to a conversation session presented at the 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting, this webinar explored how to effectively use the conversation guide How Librarians and Libraries Can Lead Community Conversations for Change. This webinar provided concrete suggestions for hosting community conversations as well as opportunities to ask questions about how to move from conversation to action as part of the engagement work of libraries. Presenters: Cheryl Gorman, Vice President National Programs, Harwood Institute for Public Innovation; and Mary Davis Fournier, Deputy Director, ALA Public Programs Office.


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Eat Your Words: Hosting an Edible Book Festival

Kristin Boyett, a librarian at the University of North Texas Wills Library, will offer a snapshot of Edible Books events from years past at the university as well as provide tips for how to conduct a successful program, including how to alter it to suit various audiences and facilities. Learn how much fun it can be to attend and host!

Participants will be leave the session with a general blueprint on how to host their own Edible Books Festival as well as ideas on how to make it both successful and personalized to their needs.

Engage! Teens, Art & Civic Participation: Creating Local, Issues-Based Programming

The Engage! Teens, Art & Civic Participation webinar series will introduce a program model that targets young adults, using visual art as a springboard to civic engagement. Originally piloted in ten Illinois libraries in 2010, Engage! Teens, Art & Civic Participation is an activity- and discussion-based program model featuring a selection of curated and compelling images of American art.

During these three free webinars, participants will:

  • Hear from librarians who participated in the Engage! pilot program, who will share what worked and what didn’lt with teens.
  • Be introduced to a free PDF guide to the Engage! model, featuring detailed instructions on how to get started.
  • Learn how to formulate effective “looking questions” that will elicit participation and engagement with art and thematic content.
  • Learn how to select images that will illuminate relevant civic participation issues for teen discussion and learning.

Please be sure to register for all three sessions. This project was inspired by the National Endowment for the Humanities’l Picturing America project. Funding for Engage! is provided by the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust and from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

This session will focus on issues based discussions for teen audiences, using the Engage! Teens, Art & Civic Participation model. Adam Davis, Director for the Project on Civic Reflection and an advisor to the Engage! project, will walk webinar participants through how to identify locally relevant issues and images for issues-based teen programming, and Christie Chandler-Stahl, formerly of the Evanston (Ill.) Public Library and currently at the Rakow Branch of the Gail Borden Public Library District in Elgin, Illinois, will share how this approach worked in her library.

Can’ make it on May 15? You can still register for the webinar, and we will notify you as soon as the webinar is archived and available for on-demand viewing at your convenience!


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Engage! Teens, Art & Civic Participation: Creating Compelling Discussion through Art

The Engage! Teens, Art & Civic Participation webinar series will introduce a program model that targets young adults, using visual art as a springboard to civic engagement. Originally piloted in ten Illinois libraries in 2010, Engage! Teens, Art & Civic Participation is an activity- and discussion-based program model featuring a selection of curated and compelling images of American art.

During these three free webinars, participants will:

  • Hear from librarians who participated in the Engage! pilot program, who will share what worked and what didn’lt with teens.
  • Be introduced to a free PDF guide to the Engage! model, featuring detailed instructions on how to get started.
  • Learn how to formulate effective “looking questions” that will elicit participation and engagement with art and thematic content.
  • Learn how to select images that will illuminate relevant civic participation issues for teen discussion and learning.

Please be sure to register for all three sessions. This project was inspired by the National Endowment for the Humanities’l Picturing America project. Funding for Engage! is provided by the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust and from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

This second session will delve in to how to present and look at art. Sarah Alvarez, Director of Teacher Programs at the Art Institute of Chicago, will discuss how to ask looking questions and frame issues and activities. Brandy Morrill, an Engage! pilot librarian at the Chinatown Branch of the Chicago Public Library, will share how this adaptable approach worked in her library.

Can’ make it on April 17? You can still register for the webinar, and we will notify you as soon as the webinar is archived and available for on-demand viewing at your convenience!


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Engage! Teens, Art & Civic Participation: An Introduction

The Engage! Teens, Art & Civic Participation webinar series will introduce a program model that targets young adults, using visual art as a springboard to civic engagement. Originally piloted in ten Illinois libraries in 2010, Engage! Teens, Art & Civic Participation is an activity- and discussion-based program model featuring a selection of curated and compelling images of American art.

During these three free webinars, participants will:

  • Hear from librarians who participated in the Engage! pilot program, who will share what worked and what didn’lt with teens.
  • Be introduced to a free PDF guide to the Engage! model, featuring detailed instructions on how to get started.
  • Learn how to formulate effective “looking questions” that will elicit participation and engagement with art and thematic content.
  • Learn how to select images that will illuminate relevant civic participation issues for teen discussion and learning.

Please be sure to register for all three sessions. This project was inspired by the National Endowment for the Humanities’l Picturing America project. Funding for Engage! is provided by the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust and from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

In this first session, learn more about this program model for young adults that uses visual art as a springboard to civic engagement. Two librarians who participated in the pilot project—Marcus Lumpkin, Youmedia, Chicago Public Library; and Tom Spicer, Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library—shared their programs and how they can be adapted for other libraries; in addition, a free project resource guide was debuted during this webinar.


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