Library Essentials Conference: Community Engagement

Date(s) - 04/12/2019
8:30 am CDT - 4:00 pm CDT

Florida State University - Panama City, Holley Academic Center

Keynote: Community Engagement – The Work, Its Worth and Our Customers’ Well-being with Brian Hart, Deputy Director for the Greensboro Public Library & Board member for EveryLibrary — Community engagement is essential for the success of libraries, regardless of their size, scope, or service areas. As library staff, we must, therefore, begin and/or continue to lead by thinking objectively and strategically about our communities, individual stakeholders and their patterns and/or preferences. Becoming intimately aware and immersed in the culture, interests, and needs of our clientele will position us to help our customers, our colleagues, ourselves and our institutions excel.

Brian Hart will facilitate a discussion and activities designed to help librarians learn how to best develop and leverage their knowledge and understanding of the communities they serve to better prioritize their “work” and pour back into the lives of their customers. Participants can expect to do the following:

  • Explore the anatomy of various community engagement strategies deployed by both academic and public libraries
  • Become comfortable initiating conversations with customers/communities about their needs
  • Explore and experiment with various design thinking strategies for identifying and responding to challenges
  • Learn how to best leverage our existing skills and networks to “make it happen” for our customers and communities


The Last Book Club: Love, Rage, and Squandering Flowers (Senior Outreach) with Heather Ogilvie: Of the 16 million people living in Florida, 4 million are seniors (age 65 and up). More than half a million (560,000) are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The challenges of advancing age are formidable. Chronic health conditions, cognitive impairment, loss of vision, hearing, or mobility, social isolation and financial insecurity are strewn across our path to the Golden Years. Perhaps we have not prepared ourselves for this wild new sport, Ultimate Aging. The library, however, is all about learning to maximize our quality of life. The opportunities for library services are amazing. From personal interaction to crowded programs, senior outreach is lively, dynamic, rewarding, fun, and cheap. Let’s talk about what we can do inside and outside our libraries to include, engage, and empower our senior community. Heather Ogilvie specializes in nontraditional library services, using community connections to create innovative solutions for underserved populations. She is currently Outreach Librarian for Bay County Public Library in Panama City, Florida. She has a BA in English from Colby College, an MLIS from FSU, and serves as Co-Chair Elect of ASGCLA-IGARD (Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Interest Group). Heather presents customer-driven programs for the way we live now and enjoys the happy belief that anything is possible.

Music Classes at Your Library with Sarah Burris: Music is a great way to bring the community together. Why not have classes at your library?! Playing a musical instrument can increase happiness, confidence, and brain power. Learn how to develop a music class from selecting an instrument to increasing your attendance and circulating musical instruments within the collection. Building strong community partnerships will strengthen what you’ll be able to offer inside of the library. Sarah Burris is the Community Relations and Marketing Coordinator for the Northwest Regional Library System. She received her Master of Library and Information Science degree from Kent State University (Kent, OH) in 2013. Sarah was the recipient of the 2016 Florida Libraries Association Outstanding New Librarian Award. She has been playing the Mountain Dulcimer since May 2017.

The Community and Culture Within with Brian Hart: Brian will facilitate a conversation about the significance that organizational culture has on the work we do in and for the communities we serve.  Come to share ideas, discuss concerns, and swap strategies on possible methods to developing and sustaining shared values in your library that will help support the work you do both in and out.

Registration and continental breakfast begins at 8:30 a.m. CT (9:30 a.m. ET). Buffet lunch provided.

Registration is closed for this event.

For FY2021-22, 70% of the total costs for the PLAN Continuing Education program ($220,000) is supported by federal money, and 30% of this program ($92,991) is supported by state money. The total budget of the project is $312,991.