On May 25, 2017, 24 state and local librarians, policy makers, educators, and civic leaders came together for a roundtable meeting at the History Colorado Center to explore, in a moderated roundtable setting, new thinking and practical solutions for using the infrastructure and expertise of public libraries to build more resilient communities in Colorado. The Aspen Institute’s Colorado Dialogue on Public Libraries examined the building blocks of resilient communities and their relationship to one another and to public libraries, drawing from initiatives developed by Governor Hickenlooper’s Colorado Resiliency Working Group.
The dialogue focused on three fundamental questions:
- How do libraries help build resilient communities?
- What changes are needed to strengthen the role of libraries in building resilient communities?
- What can my networks and I do to help define and implement pathways for action?
The report, Libraries: Building Community Resilience in Colorado identifies 10 opportunities for strengthening library-community partnerships and overall community resilience, and ways in which libraries and communities can work more effectively together that include participation in new youth initiatives, workforce readiness, and libraries serving as civic hubs. It concludes with a set of recommendations and action steps to move the ideas into action.
The Aspen Institute Colorado Dialogue on Public Libraries is one of five in a series of library dialogues convened nationwide and the only statewide dialogue in Colorado. Each dialogue is based on the framework presented in the Aspen Institute’s October 2014 report Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries.