Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Michigan for the first time – talking with the Michigan Library Consortium members about community building and libraries. It was my first time out on the road with material from the LBC project and it started a great conversation that I hope will continue to inform our thinking as a profession about community building in libraries – as well as the writing as it continues! My presentation is posted on slideshare/itgirl (new to my personal web 2.0 toolbox) – take a look! I am likely to use some of this material again as I talk more about the book, but already … it’s changing … based on what you’all said while I was out there.
Big message: successful community builders have (at least) four things in common, and these were the theme of my talk. They:
-listen to needs (includes scanning!)
-respond (appropriately to the needs)
-engage (another word for marketing, but the new way, not the old)
-iterate (through evaluation and change)
successful community builders are also thinking about:
-space (inside, outside, online – doesn’t matter where we do it)
-tools (technology is just a tool; let’s start talking to each other more!)
-sustainability (planning for the long haul)
(Looks like the book is shaping up around these ideas – let me know what you think!)
Thanks especially to Heather and Ruth for hosting me. To their Director Randy for blogging, twittering, and facebooking about the event before, during, and after! The panel of Michigan library directors they had assembled right after my keynote, and the fantastic MLC staffers all building community in so many ways – thank you for sharing your projects and libraries with me and your colleagues in MI! And finally, to everyone that gave me feedback and asked questions, both during the presentation and after – a huge thanks! I am definitely already taking your ideas and comments to heart … making updates and changes for my next presentation.
Anyone who’d still like to send in your library’s community building thoughts/projects? Our online survey is still open – please do so! I’d love to hear what you’re learning, or to highlight your or your library’s story in the book or my next talk.