Aspen Institute Releases Version 2.0 of Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library

July 25, 2017

New guide provides a framework for public libraries to better serve their communities.

Contact: Amy Garner
O: 202-736-5812
M: 301-704-1333

Washington, DC, July 13, 2017 – The Aspen Institute today released its newest interactive engagement tool, Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library, Version 2.0, a framework for community engagement and strategic planning.

The Institute created Version 2.0 of the action guide in response to requests for an abridged version of the original action guide that highlights key elements of the Institute’s people-place-platform framework and is less resource and time intensive while still providing strategic insight and information to enable libraries to better align with community needs and be positioned as a key resource around local and regional issues. The new action guide contains a variety of templates that serve as easy-to-use examples for a variety of activities and tasks as libraries move forward with community engagement and strategic planning.

“Today’s public library needs to be adaptable on a continuous basis. In an environment that demands innovation, you do this by learning, leading and implementing,” said Amy Garmer, Director, Dialogue on Public Libraries, The Aspen Institute. “The action guide walks library leaders through a series of assessments organized as pathways that culminate in the convening of dialogues with members of the community and key community stakeholders. The end results 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 Rising to the Challenge: Re-envisioning Public Libraries 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 where users may download a new facilitator’s guide, also released today, that provides a comprehensive set of resources including sample agendas and handouts for use in a variety of meeting settings. 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.

Since its initial launch in January 2016, the Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library has been downloaded more than 2,200 times, cross-posted and shared on many other platforms. Library professionals in more than 34 countries have downloaded the guide. Stories of how communities have used the guide successfully can be found on the website.

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

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 Communications 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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