Community Change Agent Program
A Strategy for the Future of New York's Libraries
NYLA's Sustainability Initiative provides New York's library leaders with time and resources to articulate how libraries adapt to our changing world while, as co-creators, shape strategies that ensure libraries remain vital, rebound from disruption, and provide on-going value to the communities they serve.
NYLA-SI launched the Community Change Agents program (CCA) in November 2017. Community Change Agents take an active role in transforming themselves, their colleagues, their institutions, and their local communities, to create a positive, productive, just and sustainable future.
Four CCA teams comprised of library staff, a community partner, and a NYLA-SI mentor, gathered in person four times from November 2017 – November 2018 to learn about:
- Sustainability as a core value and the triple bottom line approach
- Community engagement beyond the walls of the library
- Facilitating conversations about the community, in the community
- Project management and team building
- Leadership and partnership strategies through a sustainable lens
- Advocacy for communities, including libraries of course!
Teams came up with projects unique to their own communities’ needs. Monthly cohort calls with all participants (mentors, library staff, community partners, and NYLA-SI members) took place to help guide teams in between in-person trainings.
Projects focused on financial literacy, community communication via the creation of a community newsletter and better internet access, staff training and awareness regarding the stigma surrounding addiction and mental health issues within a community, and breaking down community barriers to underserved populations through partnerships and community outreach.
At the end of the year, the teams and their mentors filled out evaluation forms, and nearly all participants saw the CCA program as an unrivaled success in facilitating key shifts in practice and mindset, primarily through the focus on community first. This helped them improve the positive community impact of their daily work and their long-term projects.
Ultimately, the CCA program complements the Triple Bottom Line approach to sustainability and the NYLA Sustainable Library Certification Program.
Are you interested in learning more about CCA and possibly joining our next round of teams in 2020? We’re currently revising the curriculum to build upon the successes and lessons learned from our first cohort. Click here to give us your contact info so we can keep you up to date with the latest info on becoming a Community Change Agent.
For a brief introduction to the program, watch this!
For in-depth information on the program and the application process, watch this archived information session.