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Statewide Community Engagement Training


Wisconsin Libraries Transforming Communities

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's Division for Libraries and Technology is proud to partner with the American Library Association for a new state-level community engagement training, Wisconsin Libraries Transforming Communities (WLTC).

APPLICATIONS CLOSED: WLTC Engaged Leadership Academy

Would you like to be a more confident leader? Interested in developing deep listening and facilitation skills? Are you hoping to engage your community in an authentic, equitable process? Here’s your chance to build your skills as an agent of change within your library and the community you serve.

Apply to be a part of DPI’s Wisconsin Libraries Transforming Communities Engaged Leadership Academy. The 10-week series will run from September 8 through November 12, 2021.

Using a flipped classroom model, the series will build skills, develop strategies, and create a network of engaged leaders across our state. There will be four virtual sessions, with homework between each session. Additionally, your registration for the October 1 Lead the Way Symposium organized by the University of Wisconsin-Madison iSchool, is required and is paid by DPI.

Many of our WLTC Trainers will be back to help build your skills and confidence as an engaged leader within your community and the library profession. Training facilitators include:Erica Freudenberger, Susan Hildreth, Marsha Tonkins, and Amber Williams.

If accepted, the following are required training dates & times:

  • September 8: Online chat platform opens
  • September 17: 10:00-11:30am, virtual session
  • October 1: 9:00-4:30, Lead the Way conference
  • October 15: 10:00-11:30am, virtual session
  • October 29: 10:00-11:30am, virtual session
  • November 12: 10:00-11:30am, virtual session & wrap up


The WLTC Cohort: Class of 2020-2021

There is a bevy of talent among these 37 participants:

WLTC Coaches

  • Kristen Anderson, Winding Rivers Library System
  • Ryan Claringbole, Monona Public Library
  • Jennifer Fait, Milwaukee Public Library
  • Bruce Gay, Waukesha Public Library
  • Leah Langby, IFLS Library System
  • Adriana McCleer, Appleton Public Library
  • Holly Selwitschka, Winneconne Public Library

WLTC Teams

  • Brodhead
    • Angela Noel, Brodhead Memorial Public Library
    • Erin Menzel, Better Brodhead
    • Sabrina Meichtry, Community member
  • Eau Claire
    • Isa Small, L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library
    • Trish Cummins, Community member
  • Franklin
    • Laura Gravander, Franklin Public Library
    • Lauren Gottlieb, City of Franklin Health Department
    • Ellen Henry, City of Franklin Health Department
  • Kenosha
    • Zander Miller, Kenosha Public Library
    • Brandon Morris, Building Our Future Kenosha County
  • Lake Geneva
    • Emily Kornak, Lake Geneva Public Library
    • Jill Rodriguez, Lake Geneva Rotary Club
  • Marinette County
    • Jennifer Thiele, Marinette County Library System
    • Rebecca Livick, Marinette County Library System
    • Samantha Smith, Potowatomi Cultural Center
  • Monona
    • Jenna Assmus, Monona Public Library
    • Mark Buffat, Monona Sustainability Committee
  • Oregon
    • Kelly Allen, Oregon Public Library
    • Amy Miller, Oregon School District
  • Platteville
    • Kelli Miller, Platteville Public Library
    • Kelly Podach Francis, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
  • Plymouth
    • Leslie Jochman, Plymouth Public Library
    • Kathryn Murray, Plymouth Joint School District
    • Trisha Thomas, Generations Intergenerational Center
  • Richland Center
    • Martha Bauer, Brewer Public Library
    • Stacy Pilla, Brewer Public Library
    • Chelsea Wunnicke, Extension Richland County
  • Waukesha
    • Kerry Pinkner, Waukesha Public Library
    • Julie Valadez, Hispanic Collaborative Network
    • Amanda Medina-Roddy, School District of Waukesha

Thriving Libraries, a team of consultants trained in community engagement and leadership development techniques, is providing the expertise for this 18-month hands on, cohort-based training. 

The community engagement training will result in:

  • Public libraries inspired to participate in communities in order to meet community needs on a local level.
  • Thorough understanding of community needs and future aspirations from diverse stakeholders.
  • Strong understanding of current community-based planning strategies in the library field and related fields.
  • Development and evolution of program and service offerings that serve community aspirations and needs.
  • Deeper relationships with communities that are typically underserved, underrepresented and underrecognized.

The Wisconsin Libraries Transforming Communities training relies on raising up library leaders in coaching positions, as well. Coaches will be trained as part of this state-wide effort. Envisioned as an 18-month masterclass in authentic leadership, resilience, and self-care, Coaches are assigned one or two participant Teams to cheerlead and shepherd through their library community engagement projects.


A stated goal of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Five-year Plan for Wisconsin 2018-2022 is: Stronger engagement of public libraries with their communities and utilization of data to actively adapt to community needs. The objective of this goal is to increase awareness of community engagement as critical to public library sustainability and to provide training and resources to facilitate effective community engagement practices of libraries with their local communities.

The project stems from a multi-year initiative by DPI’s Division for Libraries and Technology. Per A Report on Findings from the Public Library Community Engagement Needs Assessment, the state will provide training for library directors/staff and municipal/community partners to enable success in these critical aspects of the library’s community engagement initiative. The learning cohort will participate in:

  1. Preparing library staff, library trustees, municipal leaders and community partners for community engagement efforts;
  2. Collecting community needs, wants and aspirations;
  3. Creating and building sustainable community partnerships;
  4. Hiring staff and nurturing a staff culture conducive to engagement;
  5. Planning and carrying out programs and/or services in response to community engagement initiatives;
  6. Measuring the success of community engagement activities; and
  7. Locating and leveraging demographic information about communities served.