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Summary

The Connecticut Dialogue on Public Libraries is a multi-stakeholder forum to identify strategic opportunities presented by the state's public libraries in response to the educational, economic, social and technological transformations that are affecting individuals and communities across Connecticut. Civic leaders, policymakers and library leaders will explore how to leverage the assets of these highly trusted institutions to build more knowledgeable, healthy and sustainable communities.

Throughout the day, participants explored the range of work that Connecticut's libraries are doing individually and collectively, as well as areas of greatest opportunity to interact with policymakers, business leaders and civic partners across the state. Participating leaders shared their goals and priorities for their organizations and communities, then addressed how public libraries can align their assets, programs and services with these priorities. The discussion highlighted libraries' outcome-based approaches and what new proposals, partnerships or initiatives might be considered to drive development, efficiencies and impact in communities across the state.

Recommended Background Reading: Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, a report of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries, available at http://as.pn/libraries

More Info Request Summary
Follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag #libraryvision For more information, contact Dominique Harrison Download the Connecticut Dialogue Report

SPEAKERS
Dannel Malloy
Governor, State of Connecticut
Tom Scheinfeldt
Director of Digital Humanities, Digital Media Center, University of Connecticut
Kendall Wiggin
State Librarian, Connecticut State Library
Amy Garmer
Director of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries, The Aspen Institute
PANELISTS
Maxine Bleiweis
Executive Director, The Westport Library
John Dankosky (Moderator)
Host of "Where We Live," WNPR
Charlie Firestone (Moderator)
Executive Director, The Aspen Institute
Elliot Ginsberg
President & CEO, Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology
Toni Harp
Mayor, City of New Haven
Susan Hildreth
Fellow, The Aspen Institute
Juanita James
President & CEO, Fairfield County's Community Foundation
Estela López
Interim Provost & Senior VP Academic & Student Affairs, Connecticut State Colleges & Universities
Dennis Murphy
Deputy Commissioner, ConnecticutDepartment of Labor
Matt Poland
CEO, Hartford Public Library
James Wadleigh
Chief Executive Officer, AccessHealthCT
Dianna Wentzell
Interim Commissioner, Connecticut State Department of Education
AGENDA
9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Welcome and Introduction by Kendall Wiggin, Connecticut State Librarian and Amy Garmer, The Aspen Institute
9:15 a.m. - 9:35 a.m. Opening Presentation by Tom Scheinfeldt, Director of Digital Humanities, Digital Media Center, University of Connecticut
9:35 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Panel 1: Library Alignment with State Priorities on Education, Youth and Families
  Panelists
  • Charlie Firestone, Moderator, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Communications & Society Program
  • Toni Harp, Mayor, City of New Haven
  • Susan Hildreth, Fellow, The Aspen Institute Communications & Society Program
  • Matt Poland, Chief Executive Office, Hartford Public Library and Member, Board of Education, Hartford Public Schools
  • James Wadleigh, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Access HealthCT
  • Dianne Roberge Wentzell, Interim Commissioner, Connecticut State Department of Education
 

Summary

Expanding access to education, learning opportunities and social connection for all is one of the great challenges of our time. Connecticut's public libraries are drawing on their deep credentials as educators and civic connectors to position themselves as a key hub of learning in the community. They are especially effective in areas of informal and nontraditional learning across all ages, promoting traditional and new forms of literacy, and as a critical institution for individuals and families confronting the challenges of major work, health and life transitions. In this session, participants will examine the roles that libraries are playing to address priorities for improving educational opportunities and outcomes, engaging youth and strengthening families, and closing troubling gaps across the state. What are the state's priorities with respect to education, youth and families? How are libraries engaging their communities within and outside the walls of the library building? How are government, business, philanthropy and community organizations working with libraries to pursue their goals in these areas? What are the elements and indicators of successful collaborations?
10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Panel 2: Library Alignment with State Priorities in Economic, Workforce and Community Development
  Panelists
  • Maxine Bleiweis, Executive Director, The Westport Library
  • John Dankosky, Moderator, News Director, WNPR and Host, "Where We Live"
  • Elliot Ginsberg, President & CEO, Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology
  • Susan Hildreth, Fellow, The Aspen Institute Communications & Society Program
  • Juanita James, President & Chief Executive Officer, Fairfield County Community Foundation
  • Estela López, Interim Provost & Senior VP Academic & Student Affairs, Connecticut State Colleges & Universities
  • Dennis Murphy, Deputy Commissioner, Connecticut State Department of Labor
 

Summary

In addition to providing a platform for learning, public libraries are also hubs for community and workforce development, creativity and innovation. They provide a variety of technologies, tools and resources; diverse spaces including makerspaces, STEM learning labs, hacker spaces, innovations centers, co-working and collaboration spaces; and access to mentors and conversations among creative people. Public libraries are well positioned to work with government, businesses and community partners to design and deliver skill development opportunities and promote the development and use of advanced high-speed Internet connectivity. In this session, participants will discuss how to take advantage of the library's expertise and assets to advance workforce, economic and community development initiatives and goals. How are libraries transforming their spaces, programs and other assets to address community priorities in these areas? How are government, business, philanthropy and community organizations working with libraries to pursue their goals in these areas? Again, what are the elements and indicators of successful collaborations?
12:00 p.m. Panel Summaries and Conclusory Remarks
12:10 p.m. - 1:10 p.m. Lunch & Keynote Address by Governor Dannel Malloy
Location: Old Appropriations Room, Third Floor
1:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Private Roundtable Session: Strengthening Partnerships, Ensuring Sustainability for Connecticut's Future
 

Summary

The morning sessions highlighted the opportunities for advancing community and statewide priorities by leveraging the expertise and infrastructure of Connecticut's public libraries. How do we make this sustainable and scalable for the future? In what ways do the diversity of funding, governance and other models represented across Connecticut's 169 townscreate opportunities or challenges with regard to the effective and efficient engagement of libraries by state and local partners? What lessons are suggested for other states? What are the next steps of moving toward a statewide vision of public libraries as key partners with their communities and state leaders?

In the roundtable sessions, participants will identify models that are working well, where the opportunities are for additional partnerships and collaborations in pursuit of common objectives to achieve greater efficiencies and impact, and what barriers may impede progress in the future. Discussion will focus on the four strategic opportunities presented in the report of the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries.

FEATURED MATERIALS
  1. Press Release: http://www.aspeninstitute.org/news/2015/04/09/how-re-envision-connecticut-s-public-libraries-be-focus-new-state-wide-dialogue
  2. Main Libraries Video: http://csreports.aspeninstitute.org/Dialogue-on-Public-Libraries/2014/report/details/0084/Libraries

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