Let’s Talk: a Toolkit for a Community Conversation

The core project staff has three assumptions about staff learning to hold a community conversation –

  1. The learner needs to actively participate in a modeled session.
  2. The learner needs to reinforce this knowledge by leading a session for others.
  3. Practice, mistakes, and more practice are the keys to leading good conversations.

Cheryl Gould and Sam McBane Mulford held the first staff conversation on 12 March 2013 at our newly renovated Milton R. Abrahams Branch. OPL’s 12 branch managers selected two staff members from their locations to attend the event. The room that morning represented a real cross-section of library staff – full-time, part-time, administrative, clerical, and professional employees. It was noted by several attendees that this wasn’t the usual mix in an OPL staff meeting.

After the group settled in with doughnuts and coffee, Sam and Cheryl began sharing a few facilitation tips. Once they realized that many people didn’t know each other, Cheryl and Sam gave each person a few minutes to introduce him or herself. As names were attached to faces, you could see many expressions that said, “So, that’s the children’s librarian at Millard” or “That’s who has that lovely, deep voice at Swanson”.

After sharing facilitation tips, the group worked through the designed exercises with lots of laughter. When the core project staff did a post-mortem on the community conversation, they created this staff tool.

Let’s Talk: a Toolkit for a Community Conversation

Posted by Theresa Jehlik, Project Manager

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