Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library: A Toolkit

Why this toolkit?

You’ve heard the adage “Teamwork makes the dream work,” but what does that actually mean, and how do we apply this principal to our work in libraries?

This toolkit addresses this question! As part of a federally-funded project, for a year and a half we interviewed 129 individuals in 18 communities across America (25 library directors/managers, 44 front-line library workers, and 60 library partners ) to learn more how teamwork makes their dreams work. Our interviews focused on the dream of community health: Communities where everyone has access to opportunities to be physically active, eat well, and be healthy.

There are lots of ways of thinking about community collaboration and partnerships. We chose to focus on a gardening analogy because we think the process of growing plants has a lot to teach us about the work we do with and in communities. In the garden, nothing is guaranteed. In the garden, plans are not synonymous with outcomes. In the garden, we tailor what we do to the environment. In the garden, some things are perennials, others are annuals; that is some things come back every year and others have to be planted again each year. And yet despite all this uncertainty, we can’t wait to get back into the dirt each Spring. All of these statements are also true about the work of cultivating the relationship-driven library.

We’d love your feedback! Use the form at the bottom of this webpage or contact us. Your input will help ensure this toolkit is as impactful as it can be!

The toolkit was launched in April 2023 at our Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library free online event.

Navigating the Toolkit

Table of Contents

Click the image at the top of these pages to return to the table of contents!

Get started with our Introduction, or jump right in to one of our four steps.

Download the Toolkit as a PDF at this link: Cultivating The Relationship Driven Library Toolkit pdf.

You can also access downloadable copies of all the images utilized in this toolkit in our Additional Resources page.