“Turning outward is when we make our community the reference point for everything we do. Not our conference room.” – Rich Harwood
Since 2014, hundreds of Oak Parkers have shared aspirations around literacy and education; diversity, inclusion, and equity; and health, safety, and affordability. Here are a few examples of library work inspired by those aspirations:
- Hired a social worker and built a safety and security team to serve our most vulnerable patrons.
- Adopted and are now curating a multicultural collection for encouraging empathy and developing global citizens.
- Addressed equity and increased access by removing overdue fines and fees for nonprofit rental of meeting spaces.
- Created a new strategic plan prioritizing engagement, learning, and stewardship.
- Revised the library’s vision to empower every voice in our community.
- Updated the library’s mission to share information, services, and opportunities that fulfill those aspirations.
What kind of community do you want to live in?
We keep asking Oak Park this question because your aspirations drive our work. Thank you to the many Oak Parkers who spoke with us directly in the fall of 2017 and the spring of 2018. Library staff actively listened to hundreds of library patrons, peers, and partners, learning more about shared hopes and dreams and emerging concerns. Through additional conversations and mind map analysis, six common themes were noted:
- Community Empathy
- Civic Engagement
- Inclusion & Equity
- Community Progress
We are using public knowledge around these themes to to help guide our everyday work and to inform the library’s 2019 strategic priorities.
Watch this video by The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation that shares more about this community-based way of working.