Turning Outward

About Turning Outward

“Turning outward” is a process developed by The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, which entails taking steps to better understand communities, changing processes and thinking to make conversations more community-focused, being proactive to community issues, and putting community aspirations first.

MHLS Turning Outward Cohort Program

Each year, MHLS will work with a cohort of libraries to use the tools in Turning Outward to gather input from their community, which will be used in developing a strategic or long range plan to address community needs that resonates with library staff and trustees and the people the library serves. MHLS and the cohort will provide regular support and training on these tools for libraries participating in the cohort.

More Info

Tools, References, and Resources

  • Engage Mini-Webinar: Mahopac Library and Community Conversations – The Mahopac Library shares their experiences conducting “Community Conversations” Listen in as Michele Capozzella, Director of the Mahopac Library, and Alice Walsh, a trustee of the Mahopac library and leader of the library’s planning committee, share their experience using the American Library Association’s Libraries Transforming Communities’ Turning Outward Resources to connect with their community through a series of “Community Conversations.”

  • Engage Mini-Webinar: Kingston and Highland Public Libraries – Hear from Kingston Public Library Director, Margie Menard and Highland Public Library Director, Julie Kelsall-Dempsey about their experiences with Turning Outward.
  • ASK Exercise – Four simple questions you can ask people one-on-one—patrons, even folks on the street—to begin learning what kind of community people want.
  • Community Conversations – A series of 90- to 120-minute conversations with community members about what they want their community to be; what challenges they face in realizing these aspirations; and what changes are needed to overcome them.
  • Sample Conversation Invitation Email – From the RoeJan Library.
  • Turning Outward Resources from ALA

Previous Cohorts

  • Claverack Free Library
  • Millbrook Free Library
  • Northeast-Millerton Library
  • Hyde Park District Library
  • Patterson Library
  • Rosendale Public Library
  • Morton Memorial Library & Community House
  • Clinton Community Library
  • Woodstock Library
  • Town of Ulster Library
  • Sarah Hull Hallock Free Library (Milton Library)

  • Howland (Beacon) Library
  • Beekman Library
  • Putnam Valley Library
  • RoeJan Library

  • Highland
  • Hudson
  • Kingston
  • LaGrange
  • New Lebanon
  • Putnam Valley
  • Rhinebeck
  • Saugerties
  • Tivoli

Upcoming Events