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Libraries as Community Catalysts

Reprinted from American Libraries: On October 2, OCLC President and CEO Skip Prichard opened the day by outlining the five Cs that libraries need to catalyze their communities. Libraries contribute, developing unique offerings that help make them indispensable. Through those contributions, they forge connections. Catalysts create, introducing big changes and little shifts. They compete, constantly pushing themselves forward. And they ultimately choose, from all the goals that they can pursue, the ones most important to their communities. The greatest catalysts maintain a positive view of the future, Prichard said.

Featured speaker Pam Sandlian Smith, director of Anythink Libraries in Adams County, Colorado, and past president of the Public Library Association, brought the five Cs to life in her presentation on leading the transformation of the struggling Rangeview Library District—which once comprised the worst-funded libraries in Colorado—into the Anythink brand. Sandlian Smith said she focused on “opening doors for curious minds.” She and her team form connections by keeping “space for people” as a mantra, she said. But 10 years into the Anythink vision, the team is challenging itself again: “We don’t have it all figured out yet. Because of our values, a supportive community, and an optimistic attitude, we can invent and become anything.”

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