4. Now What?
Now that you’ve completed your community map, you’re done–right? Not so fast! You’ve done a lot of work and now it’s time to use what you’ve learned.
After completing this section, you will be able to...
- Understand what to do with a completed community asset map
“Community mapping is the place to start, but also the place you continually have to revisit, because your community is always changing. None of this is linear.”
— Shannon Peterson, 2017 phone interview
Now that you have a clear picture of the people and assets in your community, what do you do with this information?
Reevaluate your priorities. Are there groups of teens you aren’t reaching? Do they have needs or interests you aren’t meeting? Are there associations or institutions doing work similar enough to one of your programs that you can stop duplicating efforts.
Think about your library’s capacity. There may be resources in your community that you can take advantage of to extend your capacity or reach. See the Capacity module for more.
Consider potential partnerships. Each of your community assets is a potential community partner. Are there associations and institutions in your community that you could join forces with to make something bigger and better than what either of you are doing now? Look for opportunities to align what your teens want or like with what the community has to offer. See the Community Partnerships module for more.
Continue working with the community. Getting the community involved in your library is more than just talking to them and asking them questions, it is empowering them to help make a difference1. If a public library puts the community’s voices at the center of their planning, the library will in turn become the center of the community. Public libraries are ideally positioned to be leaders of civic engagement in the community, and thoroughly understanding that community is a key part of that role2. (See the Civic Engagement module to learn more.)
Share your work with the community. Share your final product with the community, especially with the people and organizations you talked to while you were creating it. Continue to share the impacts the project has as time passes.
PHEW, YOU'RE DONE...RIGHT?
Although we’ve laid out a linear set of steps for a community mapping project, you’ll never be “done” learning about your community. Even within a single mapping effort, you will probably find yourself going back and forth among the concepts covered in other modules—like capacity, or partnerships—and you probably won’t complete steps 1, 2, and 3 as discrete steps. You should continually reference and update your community map as you develop connected learning programs and services for your teens.
1: Community Engagement in Public Libraries: A Report on Current Practice and Future Developments, by CSV Consulting, 2016.