Monday, October 19, 2015

Harwood Institute Public Innovators Lab

Detroit, MI
Oct 14-16, 2015

The Harwood Institute has partnered with the American Library Association and the Gate's Libraries Transforming Communities initiative to provide training and tools to help libraries bring positive change to their communities. The Lab was an intense 2 1/2 day training in the Harwood methodology for becoming public innovators.

There are five key areas of the method:
1. Turning Outward
Turning outward makes the community the reference point for everything we do.

2. Understanding My Community
Gaining an understanding of the community and uncovering the underlying issues is found through public knowledge (what everyone knows) as opposed to expert knowledge (what I think is best). Asking the right questions can lead to a deep understanding of shared aspirations and the barriers standing in the way of realizing those aspirations. By sharing your knowledge, you build ownership and allies.

3. Creating Conditions for Change and Aspirations
As you work toward addressing the issues, it is important to identify the stage of the community and its implication for effective action. Communities can generally be grouping into five, often overlapping stages. Trying to do too much too soon is doomed to failure and setback.

4. Deciding on the Right Path
Identify your sphere of influence, and choose the best path to ensure a win.

5. Commitment
Understand your own needs, and make the commitment to stay true to yourself, to take care of yourself, and to identify support for yourself as you do this work.

We (WCFL) have conducted a few community conversations, but previously we were asking what the community would like from the library. This was the wrong question. We will start again by asking "What kind of community do you want?". One thing I realized was that it didn't matter what community the person you are asking has in mind- the attributes of the 'work' community or the 'neighborhood' community or the 'where I live' community were fundamentally the same.  I can see where small changes could have a large ripple effect throughout the community.  We will begin by conducting community conversations with library staff. Hopefully, this will get us off to a positive start.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Cybersecurity Workshop

The ACLS staff was fortunate to be able to attend a workshop dealing with Cybersecurity this morning.  It was presented by Mr. Biser who is a Certified Ethical Hacker.  That means he knows how to get into your computer and take information out of it. Luckily, he works for the police and is on the good side of the hacker world.  He was able to put a little fear into me and my colleagues by letting us know how easy it is for hackers to breach our private computers.  We learned ways to keep our information safe. Some easy ways are to have passwords that are hard to break, and to not download items or click links sent in emails from people we don't know.  I teach computer classes at South Cumberland Library, and I will pass on this information to my students so they can keep safe also.