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Strategies to Empower Libraries: Leveraging Resources for Community Projects

Strategies to Empower Libraries: Leveraging Resources for Community Projects


$25 per person for 4+licenses

The age-old needs assessment is embedded in our work to assist organizations and communities. But this approach can stifle creativity and discourage teams who want more immediate improvements. This workshop illuminates the benefits of working with others you do not know or haven't worked with. Building on more than 30 years of collaboration experience in nonprofits and libraries, this workshop shares the best practices for learning to appreciate what you already have access to, and ways to augment your knowledge of what others have to offer. As humans, we tend to focus on what we don’t have or what we lack. In contrast, the power of collaborative strategies can inspire us to reframe this desire to seek out information about what we already have or have access to. Once this information is accessible, opportunities for combining resources in new ways will open the door to innovation.


This workshop shares the work of Kretzmann and McKnight that is the foundation of asset-based community development. Learn the value of assets, how to capture them, and then combine them in surprising ways that generate energy, enthusiasm, and strength as you collaborate. Case studies will share how these practices transformed projects from the ordinary to the extraordinary.



  • New understanding of the asset lens to identify what you have
  • Steps to move forward to solve problems using the asset-based approach
  • Knowledge of how to combine people and their assets to create something new

Bess de Farber serves as the grants manager for the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida Libraries and held the same position at the University of Arizona Libraries. She has provided grantsmanship instruction to hundreds of library staff, nonprofit and academic professionals, artists, and university students in the past 30 years, and has led efforts to secure millions in grant funding for nonprofits and academic libraries. She is the author of Creating Fundable Grant Proposals: Profiles of Innovative Partnerships (2021), Collaborative Grant-Seeking: A Practical Guide for Librarians (2016), and co-author of Collaborating with Strangers: Facilitating Workshops in Libraries, Classes, and Nonprofits (2017).

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