Webinar: Elevating Libraries as Civic Spaces

Source: National Civic League

Promising Practices Webinar:
Elevating Libraries as Civic Spaces

Join to learn how libraries are using their unique and trusted positions within communities to serve as spaces for dialogue & engagement. 

Tuesday, April 26th, 2:00 pm ET (1:00 pm CT, 12:00 pm MT, 11:00 am PT)

Webinar Description

Libraries are far more than repositories for books, often serving as hubs for community life and civic engagement. As one of the last remaining accessible public spaces, libraries serve as centers of education and literacy, academic and professional development, engagement and dialogue.

During this webinar, attendees will learn about the American Library Association’s initiative, “Libraries Transforming Communities,” which has provided libraries opportunities to learn the skills of facilitating community conversations with help from the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation. We will then hear how two libraries are engaging their communities and centering public discourse.


Courtney Breese, Executive Director, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

As the executive director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, Breese leads a network of 700 individuals and organizations who bring people together across divides to discuss, decide, and take action together effectively on today’s toughest issues. She directs ongoing programs including NCDD’s work with the ALA. 

Breese is also an experienced mediation and public engagement practitioner. She has a passion for helping people make connections, communicate more effectively, and make decisions collaboratively. She enjoys examining systems and structures and working to improve society on a macro level. 

Kellee Forkenbrock
Public Services Librarian
North Liberty Library

After two decades of work in the private sector, Kellee joined North Liberty Library in June 2019 as a library assistant. She was promoted to her current role as Public Services Librarian in October of the same year, serving as the community engagement liaison for the library and assisting with the management of the library’s part-time staff. 

Kellee holds a Bachelor’s in Marketing and is pursuing a Masters in LIS from the University of Iowa. Her professional background includes a decade of project management with a skills assessment firm and seven years in multimedia advertising for a Gannett newspaper.

Samantha Oakley
Project Director
American Library Association

Samantha Oakley is an experienced project director with a history of working in the library field. She is a project director with ALA’s Public Programs Office; in this position she directs the following efforts: Libraries Transforming Communities, Let’s Talk About It: Women’s Suffrage, Media Literacy Education in Libraries for Adult Audiences, Community Connect, ALA PPO’s annual grant opportunities, online learning, evaluation, and partnership inquiries. 

She has a BA in English from Western Illinois University, an MA in Gender Studies from Minnesota State University, and an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.