Turning Outward Initiative | Compendium
Glenn R. Miller, Deputy Secretary and Commissioner for Libraries

Glenn R. Miller, Deputy Secretary of Education and Commissioner for Libraries

I’m very pleased to announce that the Office of Commonwealth Libraries (OCL) has engaged The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation (Bethesda, MD) to help us create a more vibrant, outward-looking culture among Pennsylvania’s public libraries.

The intent of the Turning Outward initiative is to:

  • Develop public library organizations and staff who are Turned Outward—where the community is the reference point for making decisions;
  • Generate strategies and actions that make public libraries more relevant and significant in the life of the community, and seeks to address local financial concerns;
  • Forges partnerships and relationships that make community a common enterprise;
  • Instills a more vibrant, outward-looking culture.

To that end, OCL will use federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds to work with up to 20 competitively-selected Pennsylvania public libraries over two years (October 2017 through September 2019) to support them as each learns about and implements Harwood’s ‘turning outward’ approach toward making decisions about library services and resources.

Interested libraries must submit competitive applications this summer to be considered for the program.  Applications will be reviewed to determine each library’s readiness to participate in the program and to ensure that a cross-section of library service area sizes and Pennsylvania’s geographic diversity are well-represented.

Applications to participate in the Turning Outward initiative will be posted in June on OCL’s website.

Learn More about the Turning Outward Initiative
To provide more information about the pilot program, we have scheduled three webinars. It is only necessary to attend one webinar as they will be identical in content.

Please register to attend one of the following:

  1. Friday, June 2, 10:00 am to 12 noon
    Register at: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=kgxnvzn6&oeidk=a07ee53csgz298e4974
  2. Friday June 9, 1:30 to 3:30 pm
    Register at: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=kgxnvzn6&oeidk=a07ee5cz1wl6275bfee
  3. Tuesday June 20, 10:00 am to 12 noon
    Register at: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=kgxnvzn6&oeidk=a07ee5d0enh59f45f0a

Led by Carlton Sears, a senior fellow at the Harwood Institute and a librarian with over 40 years of experience, the webinars will provide libraries with an introduction to the Turning Outward Initiative. Carlton will be joined by David Seleb, Director for the Oak Park Public Library who will share his experience using the Harwood practice in Oak Park.

If you aren’t able to register in advance, you can login at least 10 minutes prior to the start time at: https://theharwoodinstitute.adobeconnect.com/palibrary/

Webinars will be recorded and archived.  We’ll announce the archive link when it is available.

Turning Outward Overview
Key elements of Harwood’s training and coaching include:

  1. Public Innovators Lab – The Harwood Public Innovators Lab is a two-and-a-half day immersion in the Institute’s practice of Turning Outward. The Lab focuses on five key areas that help to drive the success and impact of local efforts. Lab participants spend most of their time in small groups applying the Harwood practice to their real-life challenges. The Lab sessions consist of self-assessments, frameworks, case studies, an actual community conversation, and a Public Innovators Collaboration session. All participants will leave the Lab with an action plan.   It will be held Fall 2017.
  2. Learn and Apply Webinars – The Harwood Institute will provide a series of interactive “Learn and Apply” webinars that typically occur every other month following a Public Innovators Lab to reinforce the practice and work through critical issues.
  3. Workspaces – A Harwood Certified Coach will lead three workspaces (each one-half to a full-day in length) for participating libraries. The workspaces enable groups to collaborate and offer a cross-fertilization of ideas, opportunities for trouble-shooting, and the acceleration and deepening of applying the practice.
  4. Coaching– Harwood Certified Coaches will support those seeking to apply the Turning Outward practice to strategic decisions and actions and to embed the practice in the organizational culture of participating libraries following the Lab through September 2019.

For the 20 participating libraries, all Harwood Institute training and coaching fees, lodging and food expenses will be paid by OCL.  Also, travel expenses to Harwood Institute trainings and regional meetings will be reimbursed at rates not to exceed those established by the federal General Services Administration.

About The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation
The Harwood Institute is an independent, nonpartisan nonprofit. Our mission is to combat the divisions and inwardness in society by teaching, coaching and inspiring people and organizations to solve pressing problems and change how communities work together. The Harwood practice is a pivotal part of the American Library Association’s Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) initiative, and the Harwood Institute has customized its signature community leadership training for library professionals. http://www.theharwoodinstitute.org/

Questions or Comments
Questions about the Turning Outward initiative may be forwarded to Brian Dawson, Director, Bureau of Library Development at: bridawson@pa.gov or (717) 214-4046.  District library consultants, administrators and system administrators also attended a presentation last week regarding the initiative.  They may also provide you with some insight.

Questions about the June webinars may be forwarded to Marissa Salzman, Senior Program Manager, The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation at: MSalzman@theharwoodinstitute.org or (301) 656-3669.


Glenn R. Miller  |  Deputy Secretary & Commissioner for Libraries
Pennsylvania Department of Education  |  Office of Commonwealth Libraries
Room 200 Forum Building
607 South Drive  |  Harrisburg, PA  17120-0600
Phone:  717-783-2466  |  www.education.pa.gov  |  @PaDeptofEd
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