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A Community Development Framework and
Toolkit for the Community-Centred Library

Catherine Killmier, Outreach Manager and Doncaster Branch Manager,

Whitehorse Manningham Libraries
• I would like to thank and acknowledge the generous
support of the Library Board of Victoria, the State Library
of Victoria, and Whitehorse Manningham Regional Library

• I would also like to thank the staff and libraries that hosted
my study tour for generously sharing their time,
resources, and knowledge of community-led library
practices and models.
Libraries & Community Development
• Public libraries are increasingly becoming
community hubs where people of different ages,
cultures, and backgrounds can meet in a safe
environment to exchange ideas and information.

• A way for libraries to remain relevant to the

communities they serve.
The Community-Centred Library
SLV Margery C Ramsay Scholarship
• Study tour of
Canadian Public
Libraries that have
embraced a
model for service
• Placemaking
training at the
Project for Public
Spaces in New
Community-Led Model
• Four Canadian public libraries participated in the
Working Together Project.
• Vancouver Public Library
• Regina Public Library
• Toronto Public Library
• Halifax Public Library

• Edmonton Public Library developed a

community-led service philosophy based on the
success of the Working Together Project.
Community-Led Service Philosophy
• Aims to • Through
• Break down barriers to • Community Entry
service use • Community Mapping
• Address issues of social • Relationship Building
inclusion • Partnerships
• Ensure library remains
• Program Planning
relevant to the
• Computer Training
communities it serves
• Collection Development
• Customer Service
Vancouver Public Library
• Has implemented
Community-Led Model
across organisation.
• 22 branch libraries,
some in areas with
very high needs.
• Employed Community
Vancouver Public Library
Vancouver Public Library
Edmonton Public Library
• Has implemented
Community-Led Model
across organisation.
• 13 branch libraries,
some in very
multicultural areas.
• Employed Community
Edmonton Public Library
Edmonton Public Library
Regina Public Library
• Has not implemented
Community-Led Model
across organisation.
• 9 branch libraries,
large indigenous
• Did Placemaking
training but has not
implemented the
Regina Public Library
Regina Public Library
Toronto Public Library
• Has implemented
Community-Led Model
across organisation.
• 99 branch libraries,
some in very high needs
& multicultural areas.
• Employed Community
Coordinator and
Development Librarians.
Toronto Public Library
Toronto Public Library
Halifax Public Library
• Has implemented
Community-Led Model
across organisation.
• 14 branch libraries,
some in rural areas.
• Employed Community
Coordinator to work
with Library Branch
Halifax Public Library
• Community advisory groups
• After hours access to library for at risk groups
(sex workers, homeless)
• Indigenous storytellers in residence
• Reading program in women’s prisons so their
children could hear them read stories on tape
• Reading & literacy programs for children & adults
• Adopt a library fundraising program for literacy
• Community gardens
• Homeless shelters
• Disability groups
• Migrant & refugee agencies
• Job agencies
• Community health providers
• Women’s prisons
• Art & craft groups
• Education providers
• Capitalises on a local community’s assets,
inspiration, and potential, ultimately creating good
public spaces that promote people’s health,
happiness, and wellbeing.

• Ties in with the library as a welcoming, neutral

“third place”.

• Community-led approach to Place and the use of

The Place Diagram
Placemaking Tools
• The Power of 10 • 11 Principles of Place
• Any great place needs to • The community is the expert
offer at least 10 things to • Create a place, not a design
do or 10 reasons to be • Look for partners
there. • You can see a lot just by
• Have a vision
• These could include a • Lighter, quicker, cheaper
place to sit, books to • Triangulate
read, art to view, music • They always say “it cant be
to hear, food to eat, a done”
class to attend, and • Form supports function
people to meet. • Money is not the issue
• You are never finished
Mississauga Public Library
• Had Placemaking
training to develop the
Library as a
• Created Library
Square with outdoor
reading area for author
talks, programs, cafe,
farmer’s markets,
movies, concerts, as a
meeting place.
Mississauga Public Library
Mississauga Public Library
Pictou-Antigonish Public Library
• Had Placemaking
training to develop a
new Library.
• Extensive community
consultation through
People’s Place Project.
• Building designed as
community place.
Pictou-Antigonish Public Library
Pictou-Antigonish Public Library
New York Public Library
• Worked with PPS to
revitalise Bryant Park.
• Created an outdoor
reading room, cafe,
restaurant, outdoor
markets, fashion shows,
concerts, movie
screenings, carrousel,
chess, backgammon,
ping pong, chairs &
tables, meeting space.
Community Development Framework
& Toolkit
Action Research Model
Your Library's Community-
Assets Based

Identify Contact Group/ Document

Community Organisation Information
Community Organisation Hours/
Telephone Initially Contact Details

Organisation Purpose
Community Visit in Person
Types/Number of
Local Area Networks Establish Relationship
Current Community
Activities & Services
Telephone Outline What Library
Directories has to Offer Potential Partnerships
Internal Library Asset Map
• Identify library’s assets
• Document these assets
• List the ways in which these assets can be shared with the surrounding community

Personnel (Skills, Space and Facilities Library Materials

Interests, Abilities) and Equipment


Current Community Other

External Community Asset Map
• Geographical (location)
• Functional (youth, CALD, older adults, non-library users, etc.)

Community Groups Local Businesses Community

Meeting Spaces


Social and Economic Associations and

Conditions Institutions

Community Stories
and Narratives
• Community Engagement/Relationship Building
• Programs
• Partnerships
Act • Placemaking

Public Participation Spectrum

One-way communication providing balanced and objective • Marketing

Inform information to assist understanding about something that is • Promotions
going to happen or has happened. • Outreach
Two-way communications designed to obtain public feedback • Surveys
Consult about ideas on rationale, alternatives, and proposals to inform • Feedback forms
decision-making. • Social media
Participatory process designed to help identify issues and views • Focus groups
Involve to ensure that concerns and aspirations are understood and • Advisory committees
considered prior to decision-making. • Community workshops
Working together to develop understanding of all issues and • Partnerships
Collaborate interests to work out alternatives and identify preferred • Community-led service
solutions. planning
Providing opportunities and resources for communities to • Final decision-making
Empower contribute to solutions by valuing local talents and skills and placed in the hands of
acknowledging their capacity to be decision makers in their the public.
own lives.
• Community Engagement/Relationship Building
• Programs
• Partnerships
Act • Placemaking

• Storytimes, after school clubs, computer training, book and writers’

Programs circles, author talks, community information sessions, genealogy and
family history, English conversation circles, teen advisory groups.

Partnerships • Explore partnership opportunities with the community and local

agencies to deliver innovative programs.

Placemaking • Use the Placemaking Diagram, Power of 10, and 11 Principles of

Place to ensure the library is a community destination.
• Evaluation
• Quantitative
Observe • Qualitative

Activities Outputs Outcomes Impact

Resources Activities Outputs Outcomes Impact

• Staff time • MCHC new • Number of • Build • Child has skills
• Program parents group people visited relationships to do well at
supplies visit • Number of new • Library becomes school
• Travel library members “place” for new • Parents are
parents connected to
• Increased other people
attendance at
• Child develops
early literacy
• Staff time • Conduct • Number • Attendees • Individual
• Program computer attending develop new empowered to
supplies training at skills use the
library or • Information internet for
external location literacy job skills,
increased information,
• Revise
• Replan
Reflect • Revisit

What Could
What What Didn't Share
Worked Work Learning

• Whitehorse Manningham Libraries are implementing:

• Community Mapping
• Community-led Collection Development
• Placemaking Strategies at Doncaster Library
• Community Outreach Strategy to Break Down Barriers

• The community development framework and toolkit can

be distributed to and used by Victorian Public Libraries
and other interested libraries to connect with their