Turning Outward

“Turning outward” is a step-by-step process developed by The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation. It 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. 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 useful in  developing a strategic or long range plan to address community needs.

2020 Cohort

To sign up to be part of the MHLS 2020 Turning Outward Cohort, watch the introductory webinar below, and complete this form.  

Introductory Webinar

2020 Timeline


2019 Cohort

2019 Cohort

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

2019 Timeline

Tools 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

  • 2019
    • Howland (Beacon) Library
    • Beekman Library
    • Putnam Valley Library
    • RoeJan Library
  • 2018
    • Highland
    • Hudson
    • Kingston
    • LaGrange
    • New Lebanon
    • Putnam Valley
    • Rhinebeck
    • Saugerties
    • Tivoli

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