The library has developed and implemented a plan of action to remove barriers to inclusion that has resulted in an increase in: collaborative partnerships with community groups to develop programs/services, collaborative partnerships with community groups to deliver programs/services, and a more robust consultation process with community members and groups who do not use, or seldom use, the library.
What is it and why is it important?
As the indicator of inclusion focuses on providing equitable access to services and decision-making opportunities, as well as on the demonstration of the level of inclusion through tangible outcomes, it is vital that the efforts of the library to increase community engagement and partnerships can be measured to demonstrate tangible outcomes.
Specifically, this question looks to assess how well the library has enhanced community engagement and increased the number and scope of collaborative partnerships with community groups to develop and/or deliver programs and services for the community.
What does it look like and how do you do it?
In Section Three, Questions Four and Five of this toolkit, information and tools were provided to inform and guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to engage the community and create community partnerships.
Below you will find similar exercises as those provided in Questions Four and Five, as well as new exercises to assist the library to assess and refine its community engagement and partnership efforts.
This next exercise will require that the library working committee has a good assessment of the number of community consultations and community partnerships that have been developed during the year. Prior to starting this exercise, please consult with the staff team to develop a good understanding of the information required in the exercise below.
Once that information has been assembled, complete the exercise 12.1. It will help create a visual summary assessment of the change, if any, in the number of community partnerships and consultations. Using the notes section, provide an explanation for the type of change experienced. This will provide additional context to help you understand it.
Figure 12.1 Assessment of change in community engagement and partnerships
|Exercise questions||Community partnerships to develop programs and services||Community partnership to deliver programs and services||Community consultant||Notes|
|Which areas show no change|
|Which areas show a negative change|
|Which areas show a positive change?|
Consider using the exercise found in 12.2 to assess and further refine your work in this area. Pay attention to the information collected previously in Section Three, Question Five to assess if the information provided was used in the development of community partnerships.
- Was the information provided in the exercises in Chapter Five not incorporated or included in discussions or work leading to the development of community partnerships?
- Are there areas that can be focused on in more detail?
- Have you learned about potential new community partners since the completion of Question Five?
Figure 12.2 Steps to successfully develop a community partnership
From Community-Led Libraries Toolkit – (pages referenced are pages in the Community-Led Libraries Toolkit)
|1. Determine purpose of partnerships|
|2. Conduct community mapping to identify potential partners|
|3. Approach potential partners|
|4. Determine nature of partnership – formal partnership agreement or informal partnership agreement|
|5. Finalize content of partnership agreement|
|6. Establish and build relationships|
|7. Evaluate the partnership(s)|
Consider using the exercise found in 12.3 to assess and further refine your work in inspiring fair access to the library through information received through community consultations. Pay attention to the information collected previously in Section Three, Question Five to assess if the information provided was used in the enhancement of community engagement and community partnerships.
- Use the questions below with board and staff teams to reignite the discussion about inspiring fair access to the library by excluded groups and non-library users. How do the answers to the questions vary from the first time these questions were asked?
- Are there areas that can be focused on in more detail this year?
Figure 12.3 Inspiring fair access – thought stimulating questions for both board and staff teams
|1. Service availability: How can the library eliminate obstacles so that programs, services, and collections are provided to the community in an adequate and timely manner?|
|2. Service use: How can the library increase the use of services by improving the level of awareness of available services and collections, and eliminate organizational and social barriers that prohibit access?|
|3. Service relevance and responsiveness: How can the library provide culturally responsive and relevant services? How can the library adapt programs and services to various groups within your community?|
|4. Quality: How can the library evaluate its services to ensure that service users are able to “derive equal benefit” appropriate to their needs?|
Consider using the exercise found in 12.4 to further refine fair access planning. Pay attention to the information collected previously in Section Three, Question Five to assess if the information provided was used in the enhancement of community engagement and community partnerships.
- Use the exercise below with both board and staff teams to keep fair access and inclusion top of mind with both teams. How does the information in this exercise vary from the first time these questions were asked in Question Five?
- Are there areas that can be focused on in more detail this year?
Figure 12.4 Fair access planning
This brief exercise will assist staff and board members who are leading the development of inclusive initiatives to:
- track the various insights and thoughts on how to remove barriers;
- provide a structure to capture next steps;
- identify who is accountable and who is participating in the development of these initiatives;
- capture a timeline for this development and a method in which each team can track the progress of their efforts.
|Fair Access Principle||Thoughts on new and revised practices, policies, programs/services, and collections||Next Steps||Responsibility||Timeline||Update on Progress|
|Service relevance and responsiveness|
If the library has shown little or no change, or if the library would like to further refine its efforts in this area, please revisit the tools and sample policies provided in Questions Four and Five of this toolkit.
Audit Tool Interpretation – How to Assess Status and Progress
The Social Inclusion Audit Tool is designed to help the library assess its current status and level of progress in removing barriers to social inclusion. This box contains some examples to help when using the Audit Tool for Question 12.
Low Status/Low Progress
This may be the case when the library staff is not actively trying to remove barriers to inclusion. There has not been an increase in collaborative partnerships to develop and deliver programs and services for socially excluded groups.
What should you do? Be Open to Change.
A key element to the success of inclusion initiatives is the Executive Director taking a leadership role by making inclusion a priority. Refer back to the exercises in Questions Four and Five to identify the best ways for the library to incorporate inclusion and community engagement into its day-to-day planning and operations.
Low Status/High Progress
This may be the case when barriers to inclusion still exist in some (or all) of the library’s programs and services, but the impetus for change has begun. Perhaps the Executive Director is onboard and staff are being trained on inclusion principles. Maybe some planning and community consultation is underway.
What should you do? Refine.
Ensuring all staff have a thorough understanding of inclusion and its importance in a library setting is critical. Use the exercises in this chapter and in Question Four to help ensure the library’s plans cover all the aspects of removing barriers to inclusion in policy and service planning documents. Refer back to Question Five for exercises to improve community engagement.
High Status/Low Progress
This may be the case when library staff have knowledge of inclusion principles, and programs and services requiring improvement have been identified. Inclusion is being discussed and community participation is underway, but progress toward removing those barriers is slow.
What should you do? Become Intentional.
Use the exercises in this chapter and in Questions Four and Five to focus the library’s efforts in planning and community engagement. It is important to ensure that all the steps required in removing barriers are identified and that responsibility is assigned and deadlines are set. Developing some indicators to help monitor the progress towards inclusion will be helpful, as well as making changes to the library’s approach when it’s falling behind.
High Status/High Progress
This may be the case when the library has an active community advisory committee, knows what the community needs, works collaboratively with the community to develop and deliver programs, and evaluates the success of programs and services. The whole library staff considers the principles of fair access when planning library services.
What should you do? Mentor Others.
The library is demonstrating a high capacity by enhancing community engagement and increasing the number of collaborative partnerships with community groups to develop and/or deliver programs and services. No doubt there will have been some great successes along the way and some failures. Sharing these experiences with other libraries will help everyone on the way to become more inclusive.