Libraries Lead the Way Community Engagement & Facilitation Skills

Libraries Lead the Way is a training and coaching program that was piloted by eleven Northern California libraries.  Developed in response to requests by libraries for practical community engagement and facilitation skills, this project is part of a larger movement in which libraries are more proactively engaging their communities to adapt their services to changing social networks, as well as digital networks.

As the identity of many libraries has evolved, one thing has remained constant: libraries continue to be one of the most respected partners in the community landscape. Libraries Lead the Way seeks to empower library staff members with the skills they need to create more participatory meetings inside and outside the library.  Program participants are building strong relationships with partners and convening a range of community conversations and gatherings to support progress on locally identified needs.

Libraries Lead the Way uses a project-based learning model. Teams of staff members from each participating library attended a 2 day in person workshop which was a prelude to their own community conversation and engagement project.  Libraries were supported by coaching, progress updates and webinars. Common Knowledge Group is the lead designer, trainer and coach. The project is coordinated by Jacquie Brinkley of the NorthNet Library System (NLS) and guided by Carol Frost of Pacific Library Partnership.

The following resources are available to download:

Common Knowledge has also been honored to continue working with NLS libraries in recent years, including through Recovering Together, a multi-year project to improve library disaster preparedness and response. For more information, visit

If you have any questions about Libraries Lead the Way please contact Common Knowledge Director of Civic Programs, William Cooley, at