Awakening to Community Potential

Primary author: Eli Guinnee

three consentric circles with phrases me, us (library), all of us (community)

Rural community is a group of residents with a tremendous diversity of experiences and talents.

What is in this tool?

  • This tool will help you think about how much your library currently serves as a facilitator of community potential and,
  • if you have any blindspots to the potential that lives in some groups of people in your town.

When we start to see our neighbors as resources, from those we call community leaders to those who too often get forgotten about, we awaken to new potential for building a stronger more resilient community.  The library is one place, perhaps the only place, where the staff knows a large cross-section of people and what their backgrounds are.  Librarians who get good at tapping into potential are able to accomplish an amazing array of things that you would never guess if you only looked at their budget.  Those who gain a reputation for saying “yes” when people bring them new ideas create a positive feedback loop, with the library as a facilitator of community sharing.

LISTEN: “I think we are unique in that everybody pitches in. And basically, you just get things done–you take on a project and you just do it. And there’s a lot of volunteer things that happen here. If something needs to be done, it’s done within not too long a time.” –Heidi, WV interview #1-1-02

Further Resources

Want to learn more about the value of seeking contribution from community members?  See Pathways to Belonging: Contribution 

Want to learn more about creating programs that build connection?  See Creating Community Building Events and Pathways to Belonging: Delight