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The Art of Hosting for Libraries


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Presentation for the 2018 Leading Edge Libraries Conference, hosted by the Florida-Caribbean Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. It introduces the Art of Hosting community of practice and shares a few examples of how libraries can host conversations.

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The Art of Hosting for Libraries

  1. 1. The Art of Hosting for Libraries
  2. 2. “Hosting” Conversations? ◎ “From Hero to Host” tells how PeerSpirit’s circle practices in Columbus, Ohio developed into The Art of Hosting community of practice. ◎ Shift in thinking: Leadership through hosting, not through heroism. ◎ Create an environment where everyone has a voice at the table and host in a way that leads to fruitful conversation, collaboration, and mutual inspiration.
  3. 3. “The Art of Hosting is like Linux, freely offering its source code for leaders to achieve order without control. Its code is a set of principles and practices for how to host conversations that matter: setting intention, creating hospitable space, asking powerful questions, surfacing collective intelligence, trusting emergence, finding mates, harvesting learning, and moving into wise action. --Deborah Frieze, Walk Out Walk On
  4. 4. ◎ “Harnessing the collective wisdom and self-organizing capacity of groups” ◎ Building relationships is a significant part of positive organizational change ◎ Powerful conversational processes build relationships and promote exchange of ideas, learning, and innovation.
  5. 5. Art of Hosting Methods ◎ Circle ◎ World Café ◎ Appreciative Inquiry ◎ Open Space Technology ◎ And others; All have a powerful question at the core
  6. 6. The Circle Way ◎ Talking piece ◎ Check-in ◎ Agreements ◎ Rounds: answer question, respond to others ◎ Check-out 6
  7. 7. Appreciative Inquiry: The 4-D Cycle Discovery “What gives life?” (The best of what is) Appreciating Dream “What could be?” (Opportunities for the future) Imagining Design “What should be?” (Our ideal organization) Innovating Destiny “What will we do?” (Ongoing empowerment, performance and learning) Delivering Positive Core Change Agenda & Topic Choice “The Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Cycle,” from The Power of Appreciative Inquiry, 2nd ed. by Diana Kaplin Whitney and Amanda Trosten-Bloom, page 6.
  8. 8. Creating Space Hospitality and Hosting
  9. 9. Hosting and Planning Inviting Patrons to the Process
  10. 10. What We Hoped to Achieve ◎ To build relationships with as many stakeholder groups as possible: students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, patrons from outside ◎ To understand their needs and expectations of the library: space, collections, and services ◎ To invite library users into our evaluation and planning process, fostering a sense of investment in the library’s future ◎ To replace negativity with a more positive approach that would drive change
  11. 11. Appreciative Inquiry, Fall 2014 ◎ Generated a powerful question: What Can Schaff Library Give? ◎ Four conversation events with one-hour format ◉ Discover: share a positive library experience ◉ Review common themes that surface ◉ Dream: how can the strengths of the library help us to improve? ◎ A lot of good ideas and suggestions surfaced ◉ Communication about library services and events ◉ Space lends itself to community activities
  12. 12. Circle + Appreciative Inquiry, Fall 2016 ◎ Weekend students raised concern about library hours, asking for an increase ◎ Powerful question: What mosaic of services can Schaff Library provide to our evolving community? ◎ Combined Circle practice with Appreciative Inquiry ◉ Opening Circle: share why you are here ◉ Discover: share a helpful experience with a library service ◉ Review common themes that surface ◉ Dream: finish the sentence, “Library services that help Weekend MDiv students be successful are …” ◉ Closing Circle: share your takeaway from the conversation
  13. 13. Hosting Expression Offering Space to Share, Understand, and Heal
  14. 14. Window Art Conversation, Spring 2015 ◎ Asynchronous yet wanting to engage people in the library’s physical space: writing on the windows ◎ Powerful question, this time not specifically about the library: What do you hope to see? ◎ Forum for response to the intense issues students and the Seminary community were facing at the end of the Spring semester: final papers, graduation, Baltimore, Supreme Court deliberations
  15. 15. Post-Election Circle, Fall 2016 ◎ Library co-hosted with seminary’s Diversity & Educational Life Committee ◎ Opportunity for faculty, staff, and students to come together after a charged election season and dramatic election day ◎ Offered opportunity for all voices to be heard in a safe and non- threatening space
  16. 16. Librarian as Facilitator 25
  17. 17. My Professional Evolution ◎ Started as faculty representative on Committee on Diversity; authored report on adopting conflict resolution practices for student-on-student concerns ◎ Trained as a restorative justice facilitator ◎ Chair of Standards Committee, led revisions to policies to integrate restorative justice practices in Standards Committee work; facilitate restorative welcome circles for students returning from suspension ◎ Ongoing research and practice to implement hosting conversations as part of Integrated Library Planning
  18. 18. Further Thoughts ◎ Many conversational practices to choose from ◎ Basic principles: ◉ Asking a powerful question ◉ Making invitation ◉ Preparing the space ◉ Listening and speaking ◉ Acknowledging ◎ Social media and other asynchronous technologies can help expand conversation beyond physical space ◎ Make connections with positive practices already familiar to your community ◎ Listen attentively and respectfully
  19. 19. Thanks! Any questions? Myka Kennedy Stephens Facebook: mykakennedystephens