National Nonprofit to Help 10 Libraries Tackle Community Challenges

The Harwood Institute to Work with 10 Libraries Nationwide in Collaboration with ALA

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Rich Harwood

With our proven experience sparking change across the country, we are excited to provide the tools libraries need to transform their communities and put the country on a better path forward.

Bethesda, MD (PRWEB) May 16, 2014

The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is partnering with the American Library Association (ALA) to help 10 public libraries across the country work with their communities to address challenges ranging from unemployment and poverty to literacy and Internet access. (See list of libraries below.)

The program is made possible through the American Library Association’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As part of the initiative, The Harwood Institute will spend 18 months guiding the libraries through in-person training, coaching, and webinars, and increase their ability to act as innovative change-makers for communities facing a variety of challenges.

“Libraries are uniquely positioned to bring people back to the public square and strengthen their communities,” said Rich Harwood, founder and president of The Harwood Institute, a national nonprofit that teaches and coaches people and organizations to solve pressing problems, change how communities work together and improve public discourse. The Institute is dedicated to developing public innovators — people with the mindset and skills to tackle their community’s problems.

“With our proven experience sparking change across the country, we are excited to provide the tools libraries need to transform their communities and put the country on a better path forward,” said Harwood, who has spent more than 25 years working with people and organizations across the nation to help them identify and solve challenges in a way that builds the capacities of communities themselves.

“Public libraries have long served as trusted and treasured institutions, and librarians today can leverage that strong position for the betterment of their communities,” said ALA President Barbara Stripling. “As a longtime champion of library-led community engagement and innovation, ALA is primed to provide the tools and support that will enable librarians to more effectively fulfill this vital role.”

The 10 libraries, selected by ALA from a pool of more than 80 applicants, are located in cities and towns that represent a spectrum of the country’s varied demographics and challenges. They are:

  •     Red Hook Public Library (N.Y.), population 1,900
  •     Columbus Public Library (Wis.), population 5,000
  •     Knox County Public Library (Ind.), population 33,900
  •     Suffolk Public Library (Va.), population 85,000
  •     Hartford Public Library (Conn.), population 125,000
  •     Springfield City Library (Mass.), population 153,000
  •     Tuscaloosa Public Library (Ala.), population 195,000
  •     Spokane County Library District (Wash.), population 255,000
  •     San Jose Public Library (Calif.), population 980,000
  •     Los Angeles Public Library (Calif.), population 3.8 million
About The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation
The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Md. that teaches and coaches people and organizations to solve pressing problems and change how communities work together. The Institute is guided by Founder and President Rich Harwood, who has dedicated more than 25 years to transforming communities nationally and worldwide.

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.