Libraries Transforming Communities: Facilitation Training for Small and Rural Libraries

Libraries Transforming Communities: Facilitation Skills for Small and Rural Libraries is a free asynchronous e-course created by the American Library Association (ALA).

Through six modules, it introduces library workers to the basics of leading conversations. (While created for small and rural libraries, the information is relevant to libraries of all sizes and types.)

In the e-course, you will learn:

  • Conversations in the Library: Getting Started. Module 1 explores what it means to facilitate conversations in the library. You will also learn to develop a plan for getting started leading conversations in your community.
  • Laying the Groundwork: Planning a Conversation. In Module 2, you will choose a topic for conversation and identify a conversational goal. You will also identify partners and stakeholders that may help in planning or facilitating a community conversation.
  • Setting the Room: Navigating Logistics and Setting Up a Conversation. In Module 3, you will outline a plan for recruiting participants and partners for your conversation; prepare for necessary logistics; and identify supporting roles to keep your conversation running smoothly.
  • In the Moment: Leading a Conversation and Managing Group Dynamics. In Module 4, you will learn essential skills for conversational leadership, including ground rules, conversation starters, questions, and techniques for managing challenging behavior.
  • The Follow-Up: Closing a Conversation and Preparing Next Steps. In Module 5, you will learn how to plan for the end of your conversation, including reaching decisions or reflecting on the experience.
  • Going Virtual: Technology and Facilitation Approaches for Online Conversations. When ALA set out to create this course, we were living in a pre-COVID world; there was little concern around hosting a roomful of people for an in-person conversation. Since then, much has changed. In this Bonus Module, we will explore how to facilitate conversations virtually.

Learn more about each module and access the companion facilitation guide here