Harwood Public Innovation for California’s Public Libraries

The California State Library has partnered with The Harwood Institute to support California library staff in deepening their impact and increasing their relevance in the communities they serve. The Harwood Institute has trained and coached hundreds of library professionals across the U.S. in developing an approach, or practice, called Turning Outward. Library professionals who Turn Outward build a deep knowledge of their communities and use the community as the reference point for their choices and judgments. By implementing the Turning Outward practice, library staff across the state of California are making different choices about:
  • the kinds of questions to ask in meetings;
  • the library’s role in helping bring the community together to solve problems;
  • the kinds of programs the library pursues and how those programs are structured; and
  • the kind of staff and culture that is needed in the library.
Libraries that Turn Outward are better connected to their communities and the context of those communities shapes their thinking and their action.


  • Please visit the resources page for extensive resources to help California library staff implement the Harwood practice, get focused on their communities, and start making changes today.
  • The California State Library maintains a project listserv and Facebook group where library staff can connect and share information.
  • The Harwood Institute provides full information about the practice on its website.
  • All Harwood Lab alumni receive access to more than 2,000 public innovators worldwide through the Harwood Public Innovators listserv, weekly e-mails that include tools, real world case studies, and tips on using what you’ve learned, a Public Innovators Toolkit ready for use with staff and partners (including a Community Conversations workbook), and access to an online video library. Participating libraries receive a royalty-free license from The Harwood Institute to use all these tools, content, and materials with their staffs and local partners, for non-commercial purposes.
Please contact Bev Schwartzberg at beverly.schwartzberg@library.ca.gov for more information about any of these resources. The Harwood Public Innovation for California’s Public Libraries project is supported by the U.S. Institute for Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.