Libraries Transforming Communities

Communities have challenges.
Libraries can help.


Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) is an ALA initiative that seeks to strengthen libraries’ roles as core community leaders and change-agents by developing and distributing tools and support for library professionals to “turn outward” toward their communities.

What is “turning outward”?

“Turning outward” — a method created by the non-profit Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities partner — emphasizes a shift in orientation from internal (library-focused) to external (community-focused). This change is achieved through practical steps: taking measures to better understand communities; changing processes and thinking to make your library‘s work more community-focused; being proactive to community issues; and putting community aspirations first.

What is the goal?

LTC will help libraries become more reflective of and connected to their communities and achieve a domino effect of positive results, including stronger relationships with local civic agencies, non-prots, funders and corporations, and greater community investment in civility, collaboration, education, health and well-being. ALA also hopes to shift public discourse away from past themes about libraries in crisis and toward talk of libraries as agents of positive community change.

What resources are available through LTC, and where can I find them?

Visit to download free resources, including guides to help your team organize and facilitate community conversations; informational webinars designed for library professionals and led by Harwood Institute educators; worksheets to help you and your staff identify how you approach community engagement; and tools to help you remain engaged and rejuvenated, professionally and personally.

Libraries Transforming Communities is made possible through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.