Archive for November, 2013

Want to make aspirations a reality? Dialog, Listen, Act.

November 8th, 2013 No comments

Just back from a 3-day training with The Harwood Institute’s Public Innovation Lab.

 harwood logo

Key take-aways:

A community dialog on shared aspirations creates new possibilities, particularly a way to identify where small actions can begin to (re)build trust among community members.

Taking these small actions begins to allow us to tell a different story about ourselves. Imagine changing the narrative from how no one cares, to one where we talk about the good that emerged when several did care and act.

There are tools to do this and chief among them is community conversation about the things that matter to a community’s members – a dialog libraries and librarians are well placed to host.

The American Library Association is behind this program in a significant way as a means to inform the continuing evolution of libraries.

For a taste of some of the dialog to come, consider how you would respond to the four questions below. Want to be part of this discussion? Send me your email address and I’ll let you know when we schedule Community Conversations in 2014.


1. What kinds of community do you want to live in?

2. Why is that important to you?

3. How is this different from how you see things now?

4. What are some of the things that need to happen to create that kind of community?


Here’s to discovering our shared aspirations and fulfilling them together.

Celebrating the 2013 Teen Learning Ambassadors

November 4th, 2013 No comments

On November 2, we gathered at the Yonkers Public Library to honor 21 very special kids who participated in the 2013 Teen Learning Ambassadors Program.

It was hard not to be moved by the Learning Ambassador celebration. Parents shared stories about how excited their kids were to go to work each day.  Many called their coordinator Francine Vernon – the brains behind this initiative – the next day to offer their thanks for having made such a significant investment in their children.  As Francine just noted to me, the kids had likely not shared with their parents what they were doing day-to-day, so this was a chance for them to be dazzled.

In truth, the parents absolutely glowed.  The teens, initially a bit tongue-tied during the interview, warmed to their subject. Then the librarian mentors added their perspectives, which were a mix of pride in their teen ambassadors and delight in what they accomplished.

A special thanks goes out to Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (35th S.D.) for joining us. We would also like to thank our supporters, without them there wouldn’t be a program like this:

  • New York State Library Summer Reading Funds
  • TD Charitable Foundation
  • The Thomas and Agnes Carvel Foundation
  • Great Potential/Liberty Partnership Program at Purchase College, SUNY
  • Wheelabrator Westchester


To learn more about the WLS Learning Ambassadors Program, and how you can support it, click here.


Sen. Andrea Stewart Cousins with WLS Ambassadors