Little Library, Big Dreams
Red Hook Public Library Selected for American Library Association’s Libraries Transforming Communities Grant
( RED HOOK, NY ) — The American Library Association (ALA) has selected Red Hook Public Library as one of 10 public libraries nationwide that will undergo an intensive 18-month, team-based community engagement training program as part of the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) Public Innovators Cohort.
The cohort, selected through a highly competitive peer-reviewed application process, is part of ALA’s LTC initiative, a national plan to help librarians strengthen their role as core community leaders and change-agents.
Through in-person training, webinars and coaching — valued at $50,000 — a five person team assembled by Red Hook Public Library will learn new community engagement techniques and apply them to challenges in the Red Hook area. The library will also receive an $8,000 cash grant to help cover the cost of new community-engagement work.
“We are thrilled to have been recognized for the work we have done and honored to have been selected to take part in this ground-breaking project,” said Red Hook Public Library Director Erica Freudenberger. “We look forward to working with our partners to continue to serve the community of Red Hook in innovative ways.”
The selected libraries represent the range of American communities in terms of size, location, ethnic and racial diversity and socioeconomic status, and they all face challenges including illiteracy; unemployment; a “digital divide” in access to information technology; an influx of new and immigrant populations; and disparate access to services.
Other members of the LTC Public Innovators Cohort include:
- Columbus (Wis.) Public Library (pop: 5,000)
- Knox County (Ind.) Public Library (pop: 33,900)
- Suffolk (Va.) Public Library (pop: 85,000)
- Hartford (Conn.) Public Library (pop: 125,000)
- Springfield (Mass.) City Library (pop: 153,000)
- Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Public Library (pop: 195,000)
- Spokane County (Wash.) Library District (pop: 255,000)
- San Jose (Calif.) Public Library (pop: 980,000)
- Los Angeles (Calif.) Public Library (pop: 3.8 million)
“Public libraries have long served as trusted and treasured institutions, and librarians today can leverage that strong position for the betterment of their communities,” said ALA President Barbara Stripling. “As a longtime champion of library-led community engagement and innovation, ALA is primed to provide the tools and support that will enable librarians to more effectively fulfill this vital role.”
In partnership with The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, Libraries Transforming Communities addresses a critical need within the library field by developing and distributing new tools, resources and support for librarians to engage with their communities in new ways. Libraries Transforming Communities is made possible through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Libraries Transforming Communities is grounded in The Harwood Institute’s approach of “turning outward,” which emphasizes changing the orientation of institutions and individuals from internal (institutional) to external (community-facing).
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.
The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Md., that teaches and coaches people and organizations to solve pressing problems and change how communities work together. The institute is guided by Richard C. Harwood, whose transformational work during the past 25 years has spread to thousands of communities nationally and worldwide, from small towns to large cities.
Red Hook Public Library was founded in 1898 and serves the community of Red Hook and its need for lifelong learning. Since 1935, the library has made its home in a mid-nineteenth century octagonal building based on the designs of Orson Squire Fowler.