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Civic Engagement Leadership Roles for Libraries: Why Should Libraries Promote Civic Engagement?

This workshop guide includes resources for libraries to foster civic engagement. #librariestransform #civicengagement

Workshop Brainstorming Activity

At the Librarians Fostering Civic Engagement workshops in the fall of 2018, attendees participated in a brainstorming activity based on the approach in Simon Sinek's book, Start with Why.  The lists below outline responses from attendees at the 7 workshops offered throughout Massachusetts.

Why should libraries promote civic engagement?

  • Connect people with community knowledge.
  • Democracy and diversity.
  • Demonstrate value and promote services.
  • Foundational to our mission and role.
  • Give voice to needs.
  • Help the library understand needs and gaps. 
  • Increase social engagement and generate connectedness.
  • Increase community engagement.
  • Increase literacy and responds to lack of civic literacy.  Disseminates information.
  • It's fun and rewarding.
  • Librarians are trusted, non-partisan, good stewards.
  • Libraries are the logical place with readily available, free resources for all.
  • Libraries bring people together. Foster collaboration and create a strong, healthy community.
  • Libraries Transform.
  • Reach all ages.


How can libraries foster civic engagement?

  • Assess community interests and needs.
  • Collection development.
  • Connect people with each other.
  • Educate about ideas.
  • Foster internal culture.
  • Have consistent expectations.
  • Host community conversations.
  • Host programs, events, and forums.
  • Include civic engagement in the strategic plan.
  • Model curiosity and democratic structure. 
  • Offer lifelong learning programs.
  • Participate in existing engagement.
  • Partnerships. Build relationships.  Outreach.
  • Provide space.
  • Teach digital literacy.
  • Use social media and other communications.

What can libraries do to foster civic engagement?