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Local library part of pilot program
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Local library part of pilot program

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The Aspen Institute, an education and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C., has launched a pilot initiative for its newest interactive engagement tool, an "Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library." The action guide is designed to complement the institute’s 2014 report, "Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries,available for download at http://as.pn/libraries. The pilot includes the following 23 library systems of varying sizes and serving diverse populations around the United States:

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

“We are indebted to our pilot participants,” said Amy Garmer, director of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries. “The involvement of these public libraries is so important as we move forward with our goal of helping public libraries to engage more deeply with their communities and inspire action to re-envision public libraries as key partners in all aspects of community life in the digital age.”

The pilot is designed to take place over 10 weeks and librarians can opt for a structured process or a self-paced initiative. The pilot will conclude in mid-November, and feedback from librarians and library directors will be incorporated in the final action guide and web site that will launch in early winter.

The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries is a multi-stakeholder forum to explore and champion new thinking on U.S. 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, D.C.; 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 http://www.aspeninstitute.org.

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