Library director joins Harwood Institute board

David Seleb and Rich Harwood in April 2019
The library’s Executive Director David J. Seleb (left) with President and Founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation Rich Harwood (right) at the Main Library in April 2019. In June 2020, Seleb began serving on the Harwood Institute’s board of directors.

Our library’s Executive Director David J. Seleb has joined the board of directors of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. He began serving on the 11-member board in June 2020, as he continues to lead the library using the Harwood Institute’s “turning outward” approach.

“The Harwood Institute has profoundly influenced my professional and personal life since I was connected to its work seven years ago, and it is an incredible honor for me to join its board,” Seleb says.

‘Authentic hope rooted in intentional action, deepest aspirations’

For 30 years, The Harwood Institute has been working to help people, organizations, and communities bridge divides, create a culture of shared responsibility, and find a renewed sense of hope and a real path forward.

Our library embraces The Harwood Institute’s “turning outward” approach, which means we make the choice to ground our work in the aspirations of the community. And we treat people as citizens, not consumers.

“The Harwood approach is about bringing people together in a community to work with one another for positive change. It is about transforming communities to get them on a hopeful path forward out and away from their polarization. But it’s about authentic hope, hope which is rooted in intentional action and in people’s deepest aspirations,” Seleb says.

‘Informed and nourished by our Harwood practice’

Hiring a social worker at the library in 2016, ending late fines on materials in 2017—these are just two examples of how Harwood Institute principles have informed the work of the library. And after seven years of our embracing Harwood practice, the turning outward approach continues to be relevant in the library’s everyday work.

“For me and for the Oak Park Public Library, there are no more intentional actions necessary than those that work to end the racism of our country,” Seleb says, speaking of the library’s anti-racism journey now underway. “Our anti-racism journey then is informed and nourished by our Harwood practice, just as is all of our work.”