Community Engagement and Libraries
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has made community engagement for libraries a strategic priority. Initiatives include partnership development between TSLAC and other organizations, as well as the promotion of local, state, and national programs that offer Texas libraries the tools they need to engage more effectively in their own communities.
Small Business | Edge | Libraries and Literacy | Volunteers | Veterans and Military Families | Workforce | The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation | Collaborating with Strangers (CoLABs) |Partnerships | Want to Learn More?
Small business owners and budding entrepreneurs have access to a wealth of free, reliable, and current online information at their local library, available 24/7. With only a library card, individuals can access digital resources, including start-up kits, business plan models and financial forms, industry information and news, high-end market information and research, management materials, “how to” videos, and much more. Click here to find your local library, and ask about the TexShare Small Business Reference Center, part of the TexShare database program.
GET THE EDGE!
The Edge is a national program focused on helping libraries and local governments work together to achieve community goals. Public libraries use the Edge to assess themselves in three areas: technology, community engagement, and internal capacity. Edge libraries have successfully used their Edge results to show their community value and build a case for improved funding. You can learn more about the Edge here.
Libraries and literacy go hand in hand. Learn more about how TSLAC is working with the Texas Workforce Commission's Adult Education and Literacy Division to foster partnerships between libraries and adult literacy providers.
Volunteer Resource Clearinghouse
All libraries are invited to explore the resources found in the Get Involved Clearinghouse. The website contains resources for volunteer management, sample job descriptions, training materials, photographs for marketing, and more.
Resources for Libraries:
- Community Salute: Five key resources to help libraries and museums better serve veterans and military families. Developed by the Institute of Museum and Libaries Services (IMLS).
- Statewide Read focusing on the veteran experience launched by the Texas Center for the Book. Over fifty libraries participated in the project.
- Training on providing services to military and veteran communities. Visit the Texas State Library Online Training Site to attend a 4-part webinar series.
- Veterans Connect @ The Library, an initiative of the California State Library that offers helpful resources and programming ideas for libraries.
- Research Guides, including:
- Military Veteran Peer Network (MVPN) Peer Service Coordinator. Your MVPN can assist libraries wishing to partner with local organizations serving veterans. Locate your MVPN on the Texas Veterans Commission Map of Peer Service Coordinators.
- TexVet.org, the state clearinghouse for information, resources, data, technical support, and research relevant to service members, veterans, their families, and those who serve them.
- Veteran Entrepreneur Program, a TVC program that provides training and technical assistance to veterans starting small businesses.
Libraries are a welcoming place for job seekers and budding entrepreneurs. In many communities they offer the only free internet access for people who need to complete online job applications, request unemployment assistance, or update their resumes. The Texas State Library welcomes opportunities to connect with local workforce boards to facilitate partnerships with libraries.
In May 2015, the Texas State Library held 3-day Harwood Public Innovators Labs in Arlington, San Angelo, and Houston. Focused on “turning outward,” the Labs were developed as the result of a partnership with ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative. Lab attendees can contact the Texas State Library for copies of the materials developed for the Texas Labs. Interested in learning more about turning outward and doing the training on your own?
Collaborating with Strangers (CoLABs) are the brainchild of Bess de Farber and the University of Florida Libraries. CoLABS offer structured "speed meetings" that connect potential partners in academic and non-profit settings. The goal of the program is to offer large-group opportunities for participants from various fields to meet each other, exchange ideas and, together, build new foundations to start or improve on campus-wide or community projects.
Interested in developing a partnership with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission? Contact Jennifer Peters at 512-463-5456.
- Download "Community Engagement: It’s Easier Than You Think" tipsheet.
- Don't miss this article (PDF) about community engagement and libraries published in Texas Town & City, the magazine of the Texas Municipal League!
- Hear How One Library Flipped their Script. Pottsboro Public Library dramatically changed their focus in a 3-year period—from book depository to tech hub. Listen to Director Dianne Connery’s archived webinar. Look for “Flip the Script: Changing the Direction of Your Library".