Directors and library leaders from around Ohio and Pennsylvania met for a half-day workshop to share best practices and discuss ideas for impacting literacy and education throughout their communities. The interactive workshop was sponsored and attended by EnvisionWare and featured presentations by The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, Akron-Summit County Public Library and Stark County District Library.
David Bendekovic of The B.A. David Company and a Program Leader for Library Journal Professional Development, moderated the workshop and kicked off the session with stories and lessons learned from his work with over 9,000 library leaders, staff, and stakeholders. His overarching theme, “Nothing is different but everything has changed” focused how libraries have adapted to changes in society and technology, yet have stayed true to their original mission. His kick-off shared examples from his travels throughout the United States and set the interactive tone for the day with a series of individual and group exercises.
Speakers focused on different aspects of literacy and education, from early childhood learning to the business community, as well as identifying needs and measuring outcomes through data. Following each presentation was an opportunity for discussion, including key takeaways and action steps for attendees. Presentations included:
- Early Literacy & Long-Term Community Success: Heidi Daniel, Executive Director of The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County focused on the importance of early learning and hosted the workshop in their newly constructed Canfield location. The Canfield branch features a children’s learning center designed to offer interactive items focused on specific learning outcomes. Participants took a tour of the new library in the context of interactive learning.
- Building a Vibrant Business Community: David Jennings, Director of Akron-Summit County Public Library discussed how his library is contributing to a more vibrant business community through the launch of a Microbusiness Center. David shared key factors when considering the space, as well as lessons learned in space planning, equipment, and resources. His talk also focused on the importance of community partnerships, establishing community connections, and the need to demonstrate value and outcomes.
- Data Informed Approach to Building Vibrant Communities: Tena Wilson, Executive Director of Stark County District Library, shared their approach to using data to identify priorities, track progress, and measure outcomes. Tena’s presentation focused on using data to identify and measure outcomes in five strategic areas: early literacy (7 community partners), eliminating overdue fines, rebuilding their busiest branch library, Smart School Partnership, and a capital campaign.
The workshop was based on the success of a groundbreaking webcast program that drew almost 700 colleagues from around the globe to register. The webcast featured literacy and education initiatives from Jacksonville Public Library (Project LEAP), Howard County Library System (A+ Partners in Education) and San Diego County Library (LEARN and 24/7 Library to Go).