How to Re-Envision Connecticut’s Public Libraries to be Focus of New State-wide Dialogue

April 9, 2015

Contact: Lynn McMahon
McMahon & Cardillo
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How to Re-Envision Connecticut’s Public Libraries to be Focus of New State-wide Dialogue
Governor Dannel Malloy to deliver luncheon keynote

Hartford, CT, April 7, 2015 – On Monday, April 13, 2015, a distinguished group of thought leaders will gather in the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford for the Connecticut Dialogue on Public Libraries. The dialogue is a partnership between the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries and Connecticut State Library. It will take place in the Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol Building.

For more information:

The Connecticut Dialogue on Public Libraries is the first state-level dialogue by the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries and is designed to discuss the role of public libraries in responding to the educational, economic, social, and technological transformations affecting individuals and communities across Connecticut. The dialogue will consist of an opening presentation, two morning panel discussions, a luncheon keynote address by Governor Dannel Malloy, and a private afternoon roundtable discussion.

Tentative Agenda

9:00 a.m. – 9:35 a.m. Opening remarks and presentation
9:35 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Panel discussion: Library Alignment with State Priorities on Education, Youth, and Families
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Panel discussion: Library Alignment with State Priorities in Economic, Workforce and Community Development
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch with a keynote address by Governor Dannel Malloy in the Old Appropriations Room
1:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Roundtable discussion: Strengthening Partnerships, Ensuring Sustainability for Connecticut’s Future

“Connecticut’s public libraries are frequently found at the leading edge of innovations in library programs and services. We look forward to a high-level exchange of ideas among public and private sector leaders to serve as a model for other states to explore how their public libraries can support and advance the priorities and goals of residents, communities and state leaders,” says Amy Garmer, director of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries.

The state-wide dialogue is built on a framework established by an Aspen Institute report, Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, introduced in October 2014, that explores how public libraries can respond as the digital age increases the demand for high-speed information access, and changes in our education systems, innovative job training models, and additional community services help people and communities compete in the new economy.

The Connecticut Dialogue is intended to explore new thinking, strategic opportunities, and challenges in aligning the programs and services of public libraries with public and private sector priorities. Civic leaders, policymakers, and library leaders will address how to leverage the assets of these highly trusted institutions to build more knowledgeable, healthy, and sustainable communities, looking toward recommendations to strengthen existing initiatives and consider what new proposals or partnerships might drive development, efficiencies, and innovation across the state.

“I am excited that Connecticut has been chosen to be the first state to host a state-level conversation around the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries,” said State Librarian Kendall Wiggin. “Connecticut has a long history of developing innovative library services, but now more than ever library and community leaders must make sure that library services and the state’s role in supporting libraries align with the goals and priorities of local communities and the state.”

The following individuals will be a part of the daylong convening:

Maxine Bleiweis, Executive Director, The Westport Library
John Dankosky, WNPR News Director/Host, Where We Live, WNPR
Christopher Drake, Deputy General Counsel, Office of the Governor
Charlie Firestone, Executive Director, Communications & Society Program, The Aspen Institute
Amy Garmer, Director, Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries
Glenn Grube, Director, Avon Free Public Library
Toni Harp
, Mayor, City of New Haven
Kim A. Healey
, Executive Director, NewAlliance Foundation
Susan Hildreth
, Fellow, Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program
Juanita James
, President & CEO, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation
Dawn La Valle
, President, Connecticut Library Association
Marcia A. Leclerc
, Mayor, City of East Hartford
Estela López
, Interim Provost & Senior VP Academic & Student Affair, Connecticut State Colleges and Community Colleges, and Senior Associate, Excelencia in Education
Jo-Ann LoRusso
, Library Director, Middlebury Public Library
Zola Maddison
, Program Officer, Global Libraries Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Betsy McIlvaine
, President, Association of Connecticut Library Boards
Dennis Murphy
, Deputy Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Labor
Frances Padilla
, President, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut
Matt Poland
, Chief Executive Officer, Hartford Public Library
Tom Scheinfeldt
, Director of Digital Humanities, Digital Media Center, University of Connecticut
Edward St. John
, First Selectman, Town of Middlebury
Maureen Sullivan
, past president, American Library Association
James Wadleigh
, Chief Executive Officer, Access HealthCT
Dianna R. Wentzell
, Interim Commissioner, Connecticut State Department of Education
Kendall Wiggin
, State Librarian, Connecticut State Library

Throughout the day, participants will explore the range of work that Connecticut’s libraries are doing individually and collectively, as well as areas of greatest opportunity to interact with policymakers, business leaders, and civic partners across the state. Participating leaders will share their goals and priorities for their organizations and communities and address how public libraries are aligning their assets, programs and services with these priorities. The discussion will highlight libraries’ outcome-based approaches.

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 Connecticut State Library is an Executive Branch agency of the State of Connecticut. The State Library provides a variety of library, information, archival, public records, museum, and administrative services for citizens of Connecticut, as well as for the employees and officials of all three branches of State government. The State Library also serves students, researchers, public libraries and town governments throughout the state. In addition, the State Library directs a program of statewide library development and administers the Library Services and Technology Act state grant. In conjunction with the Department of Higher Education, the State Library also administers

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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