Houston Dialogue on Public Libraries | Agenda

The Houston Dialogue on Public Libraries is a multi-stakeholder forum to identify strategic opportunities presented by the city’s public libraries in response to the educational, economic, social and technological transformations that are taking place in Houston and across the country. The purpose of this event is to create an opportunity for open dialogue in which business, government, nonprofit, education and library leaders can explore the changing role of libraries in a knowledge-based society and how to engage these highly trusted institutions in collective work to build a smarter, healthier and more resilient community.

On September 14, 2017, the Houston Public Library hosted a two hour meeting of 23 leaders from Houston area nonprofit, education, business and government organizations to discuss how their institutions were leveraging their own and other community resources to respond to the complex needs of the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The meeting provided participants an opportunity to gather, exchange information, and identify areas where they, their organizations, and their networks could support one another and work more effectively in concert in the months ahead. The agenda was designed to address two tasks: first, identifying community needs and priorities and, second, identifying common ground where aligning efforts could lead to greater efficiency and impact.

Using the priorities and insights identified in September, the Houston Dialogue on Public Libraries will build upon this work to explore in greater depth how to leverage the assets of the city’s libraries as the city, its public and private sector institutions, and its residents move forward. Participants will identify models for community-library partnerships and innovation that are working well now, develop recommendations to strengthen existing initiatives and consider what new proposals, networks or partnerships might be considered to build greater organizational and community capacity and to strengthen initiatives focused on recovery, opportunity and sustainability. 

Three fundamental questions will provide a compass for directing our conversations:

  1. How do libraries help to foster equity and opportunity in the community?
  2. What changes are needed to strengthen the role of libraries in building a more equitable and resilient Houston?
  3. What can my networks and I do to help define and implement pathways for action and sustainable outcomes?

The end-goal of this event is to identify key recommendations for action to advance progress on library-community partnerships that build community capacity and resilience.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 Location: Houston Public Library, Julia Ideson Building

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM Opening cocktail reception Dialogue Kick-off Comments by Councilmember Amanda Edwards

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM Welcome and presentation of innovative work being done by public libraries in Houston


Thursday, November 16, 2017 Location: Houston Public Library, Julia Ideson Building

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m. Welcome and Introduction by Rhea Lawson and Amy Garmer Overview of the Day

9:10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Session I: The Building Blocks of a Resilient Community

10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Break

10:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Session II: Working Groups (reconvene in plenary, then go to break-out groups)

12:15 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Progress report of the working groups (in plenary)

12:30 p.m. – 12:40 p.m. Proceed to the Legacy Room at City Hall for lunch

12:40 p.m. – 1:40 p.m. Lunch at City Hall in the Legacy Room

1:40 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. Proceed to Julia Ideson Building

1:50 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Session III: Working Groups continued

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Session IV: Strengthening Partnerships, Ensuring Sustainability

4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Next Steps, Conclusory Remarks and Adjourn


Download the detailed Agenda with program highlights and session descriptions. (as of November 02, 2017)

Download the List of Participants. (as of November 07, 2017)


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