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Rethinking Relevance, Rebuilding Engagement

February 2, 2022

The Culture & Community research series launched with a first wave survey in May of 2020 designed to provide actionable information about changing community needs, contexts, and behaviors to arts and culture organizations during a time of rapid change and uncertainty. This report shares findings from a second wave of the Culture & Community research, collected in May 2021, over a year into the pandemic, and at a point when cases were falling before new variants emerged. This Wave 2 survey tracked changes in key questions from Wave 1 and explored new lines of inquiry. We developed a new series of questions to explore the dynamics of race and identity in cultural engagement, perceptions of systemic racism across the cultural sector, and the roles that Americans want arts and culture organizations to play in addressing social issues. Along with our partners at LaPlaca Cohen and Yancey Consulting, we named the second wave of this initiative Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation to reflect our hope that this difficult period -- one in which the country has faced not just a pandemic but also a long-overdue racial reckoning and intense political polarization -- would be an opportunity for genuine, system-level change.

Black Perspectives on Creativity, Trustworthiness, Welcome and Well-Being--Findings From a Qualitative Study

December 9, 2021

Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: A Special Edition of Culture Track is a collaborative effort to keep the cultural sector in dialogue with its communities and participants during the pandemic and inform deeper equity and justice in the years to come. The project pivoted from examining public attitudes and behaviors in a "time of crisis" in 2020 to doing so in a "time of transformation" in 2021, with a crucial focus around racialized experiences in connection with cultural participation and cultural organizations.The first phase of the research, conducted in Spring 2020, was a large-scale survey intended to inform not just resilience but also innovation and progress toward equity in the cultural sector, and to give the U.S. public a voice in the future of cultural engagement. But that first phase was designed and conducted before the murder of George Floyd ignited a national upswell of anger, sadness, and activism and the Movement for Black Lives began to reshape the discourse around racism in every aspect of American life. In a follow-up statistical analysis of the same (early 2020) data published in December as "Centering the Picture," we and our colleagues explored respondents' experiences in relation to their racial and ethnic identities to highlight and amplify what people of color have been going through and what they would like to see changed in the future. The report revealed some unique experiences and perspectives that Black and African American adults in the U.S. have in relation to cultural engagement, digital connection with arts and culture, and social change. The Slover Linett team, knowing that qualitative methods would be necessary to understand those perspectives in a more nuanced and holistic way, advocated for an additional phase of research in 2021 that would offer a triangulation with — as well as departure point from — the twowave quantitative survey.To that end, and in order to authentically amplify Black voices and stories, we dedicated this qualitative phase of the research solely to Black and African American participants' perspectives, since those viewpoints have historically been excluded or sidelined in most research studies and planning efforts in the cultural field. We intentionally took a broad approach to this inquiry, exploring general dynamics of creativity, trustworthiness, welcome, and community support rather than focusing narrowly on arts and culture organizations and attendance. This allowed us to hear and explore how culture and community experiences and organizations naturally fit into peoples' lives, and it led to rich insights that can inform practice, funding, and policy.

Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: Key Findings from Wave 2

November 23, 2021

The second wave of the national study, Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: A Special Edition of Culture Track, includes an even broader frame for culture (from libraries to parks, music venues, and festivals), as well as deeper involvement with small, rural or BIPOC-serving organizations.Culture + Community is a national research initiative aimed at bridging the cultural sector with the experiences and needs of its communities and audiences during the pandemic and beyond. The findings coming out of this survey also aim to provide the field with actionable insights towards becoming more equitable, inclusive spaces and toward a movement of transformation as cultural organizations become more active participants within movements for social and racial justice. In April and May of 2020, we conducted the first wave of research with a large-scale online survey that asked about the experiences, needs, and behaviors of a representative sample of the U.S. population plus a large sample of people on the contact-lists of more than 650 cultural organizations around the country.In this second wave of research, we broadened the kinds of organizations in our sample by actively inviting new organizations from categories of institutions who were underrepresented in our Wave 1 work: BIPOC-serving organizations, cultural organizations located in rural parts of the country, festivals (film, food, crafts, music), libraries, for-profit arts, and national and city parks. We also re-invited all 653 organizations from the first wave of the study to participate again in this second wave of research.

Call to Action: Public Libraries and the Opioid Crisis

February 26, 2020

OCLC has partnered with the Public Library Association (PLA) to issue Call to Action: Public Libraries and the Opioid Crisis, a report that offers strategies for public libraries to consider as they determine a local response to the nationwide opioid crisis. This is the culminating output from the IMLS-funded project Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Crisis with Their Communities.As the impact of the opioid epidemic is felt in communities across the U.S., public libraries are engaging in community responses. For many libraries, however, the new and urgent demand created by this public health crisis is paired with uncertainty on how best to address local needs in this area. This Call to Action guide provides options, ideas, and resources to support libraries as they develop response strategies, and encourages libraries to:Evaluate local health dataSeek community partnersEducate staff and community members on the issueConsider the need for staff careOffer programs and services that support local needs.

Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Crisis with Their Communities: Summary Report

October 29, 2019

The United States is experiencing an opioid epidemic, and public libraries across the country are choosing to respond to this public health emergency locally. As central community institutions open to all, public libraries are finding themselves on the front lines of the opioid crisis. Together with community partners, public libraries are providing critically needed information and services, organizing education and training events, and supporting prevention and recovery efforts.In response to the growing opioid crisis in the United States, OCLC and PLA sought to better understand how public libraries are responding to the opioid crisis locally with partners. Eight public libraries and their respective community partners participated in this research study, which is based on interviews with library staff, library board members, staff at community partner organizations, and members of the community.This summary report gathers the findings from the eight public libraries, sharing the opioid response activities that were implemented, the funding and partnerships leveraged to do so, outputs from the responses, and opportunities and challenges the libraries faced.This research surfaced the following as major outcomes of the libraries' response activities:increased relevant resources made available to the community, such as naloxone and drug disposal kitsmade a positive impact on patrons' livesincreased community awareness and knowledge about the opioid crisisbegan to address stigma about substance use disorderincreased positive perception of the librarydeveloped new partnerships and expanded existing ones, resulting in coordinated efforts that better meet community needsreached other libraries and community organizations

Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Crisis with Their Communities: Case Studies

October 29, 2019

This report includes eight research-based case studies highlighting varying opioid response efforts across eight locations in the US.The libraries are:Barrington Public LibraryBlount County Public LibraryEverett Public LibraryKalamazoo Public LibraryNew Orleans Public LibraryPeoria Public LibrarySalt Lake County LibraryTwinsburg Public LibraryThe report details each library's response, the partnerships formed, reactions of the community, outcomes of the efforts, as well as challenges, needs, and opportunities.  

Transforming Library Services for and with Teens through Continuing Education

June 1, 2018

Together with the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) embarked on a year-long exploration of the continuing education (CE) needs of staff at state library agencies (SLA) and libraries to identify challenges and opportunities and recommend ways for improving the CE landscape as a strategy to transforming serving teens through libraries.  This project was funded through a National Forum grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Collective Wisdom: An Exploration of Library, Archives and Museum Cultures

March 21, 2017

Collective Wisdom: An Exploration of Library, Archives and Museum Cultures was written by the participants in the Library, Archives and Museum Conference Exchange project, in which 18 librarians, archivists and museum professionals explored cross-sector practices and culture, and potential for interdisciplinary collaboration and continuing education.This project was part of the grant-funded and OCLC-managed Coalition to Advance Learning.The cohort was charged to 1) Build stronger cross-sector relationships; 2) Increase understanding of sector cultures; and 3) Identify opportunities for collaborative continuing education or professional development. The white paper summarizes their in-depth efforts in each of these three areas.

Advancing the National Digital Platform: The State of Digitization in US Public and State Libraries

January 23, 2017

Written by Kendra Morgan, Senior Program Manager, WebJunction, and Merrilee Proffitt, OCLC Research Senior Program Officer, this report summarizes the results of a needs assessment and gap analysis of digitization activities by public libraries and state library agencies in the US.For the assessment OCLC partnered with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), and two divisions of the American Library Association—the Public Library Association (PLA) and the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS).The project was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through a National Leadership Grant. With the support of this grant, national surveys of public libraries and state library agencies were conducted to gauge the extent to which US public libraries are positioned to support the growth of the national digital platform (NDP), primarily through the digitization of their unique collections.The report outlines key findings from the surveys and provides observations and recommendations for future exploration in the area of supporting digitization efforts in public libraries.

National Agenda for Continuing Education and Professional Development across Libraries, Archives, and Museums

July 1, 2016

This National Agenda for Continuing Education and Professional Development across Libraries, Archives, and Museums provides a broad planning and evaluation framework for the systemic strengthening of continuing education and professional development (CE/PD) across the landscape of funders, professional associations, program administrators, and trainers involved.This document synthesizes three years of planning efforts convened by the Coalition to Advance Learning in Archives, Libraries and Museums, an effort supported by grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, supplemental funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and project administration from OCLC. It includes the contributions of dozens of leaders from across the library, archives, and museum (LAM) fields, representing professional associations, training providers, and other LAM serving entities. Using Collective Impact methodology facilitated by the Educopia Institute, stakeholders identified four change goals to transform the current state of CE/PD. This agenda is a strategic action plan to meet these goals, which distributed actors can use to align and together improve the vitality of continuing education across all fields.

Executive Summary for The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action

January 8, 2014

As part of the year-long National Forum on Libraries and Teens effort, YALSA has released a report, "The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action" providing direction on how libraries need to adapt and change to meet the needs of 21st century teens. The report is a call to action for the library community. It provides recommendations on how libraries must address challenges and re-envision their teen services in order to meet the needs of their individual communities and to collectively ensure that the nation's 40+ million teens develop the skills they need to be productive citizens. By acting on this call, the library community can work within their own local communities to create the kind of spaces, services, and opportunities that today's teens need in order to succeed in school and in life.

The Future of Library Services for & with Teens: A Call to Action

January 8, 2014

As part of the year-long National Forum on Libraries and Teens effort, YALSA has released a report, "The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action" providing direction on how libraries need to adapt and change to meet the needs of 21st century teens.The report is a call to action for the library community. It provides recommendations on how libraries must address challenges and re-envision their teen services in order to meet the needs of their individual communities and to collectively ensure that the nation's 40+ million teens develop the skills they need to be productive citizens. By acting on this call, the library community can work within their own local communities to create the kind of spaces, services, and opportunities that today's teens need in order to succeed in school and in life.