Aspen Institute Launches Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library

January 9, 2016

Contact: Sue Cardillo
            O: 412-323-9320
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Aspen Institute Launches Action Guide for
Re-Envisioning Your Public Library

Boston, MA, January 9, 2016 – The Aspen Institute today released its newest interactive engagement tool, an Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library at the American Libraries Association Midwinter meeting in Boston.

“The goal of the action guide is to help public libraries engage more with their communities and to re-envision public libraries as key partners in all aspects of community life in the digital age,” said Amy Garmer, Director, Dialogue on Public Libraries, The Aspen Institute. “The action guide walks library leaders through an assessment that culminates in the convening of dialogues with key library stakeholders. The end result are forward-thinking action steps for the library and community to take to transform the experiences, opportunities and outcomes available to community residents.”

The action guide is a companion piece to the report that the Institute issued in October 2014 that explores how public libraries can respond as the digital age increases the demand for high-speed information access, changes in our education systems, innovative job training models and additional community services to help people and communities compete in the new economy.

Both documents are available for download at – a new web site that also launched today to support the action guide and the Aspen Institute’s Dialogue on Public Libraries program.

Both the report and the action guide are part of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries. The multiyear dialogue brings library professionals, policymakers, technology experts, philanthropists, educators and civic leaders together to explore the future of public libraries.

The Pilot
In preparation for its launch, the action guide underwent pilot testing with librarians from 23 library systems of varying sizes and serving diverse populations across the United States. Pilot participants included:

•    Red Hook Public Library Red Hook, New York (pop. 1,900) •    Sutter County Library Yuba City, California (pop. 95,800)
•    Columbus Public Library Columbus, Wisconsin (pop. 5,000) •    Wicomico County Public Library Salisbury, Maryland (pop. 101,500)
•    Middlebury Public Library Middlebury, Connecticut (pop. 7,600) •    Anythink Libraries Thornton, Colorado (pop. 118,800)
•    Pine River Library, Bayfield Colorado (pop. 8,700) •    Warren County Public Library Bowling Green, Kentucky (pop. 120,500)
•    Somerset County Public Library Princess Anne, Maryland
(pop. 25,900)
•    The Ferguson Library Stamford Connecticut (pop. 122,600)
•    Fletcher Free Library Burlington Vermont (pop. 42,200) •    Cedar Rapids Public Library Cedar Rapids, Iowa (pop. 126,300)
•    Wallingford Public Library Wallingford, Connecticut (pop. 45,000) •    Clinton Macomb Public Library Clinton Township, Michigan (pop. 170,000)
•    Skokie Public Library Skokie Illinois (pop. 64,800) •    Harford County Public Library Bel Air, Maryland (pop. 249,200)
•    New Braunfels Public Library New Braunfels, Texas (pop. 66,400) •    Cleveland Public Library Cleveland, Ohio (pop. 390,100)
•    Lynchburg Public Library Lynchburg, Virginia (pop. 75,600) •    Sacramento Public Library Sacramento, California (pop. 466,500)
•    Santa Monica Public Library Santa Monica, California
(pop. 89,800)
•    Salt Lake County Library Services West Jordan, Utah (pop. 1,100,000)
  •    Southern Adirondack Library System Saratoga Springs, New York.*

*SALS is an association of 34 libraries in New York serving the counties of Hamilton (pop. 4,700), Saratoga (pop. 224,900), Warren (pop. 65,000) and Washington (pop. 62,400)

The web site – – provides individuals with access to tools, stories and a discussion forum as well as news and information and a blog with entries on a wide variety of topics.

The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries is a multi-stakeholder forum to explore and champion new thinking on US public libraries, with the goal of fostering concrete actions to support and transform public libraries for a more diverse, mobile and connected society. The Dialogue is managed by the Aspen Institute ommunications and Society Program, which focuses on projects and initiatives that address the societal impact of communications and information technologies and provides a multidisciplinary venue for considered judgment on communications policy issues.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has an office in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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