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Community Engagement Toolkit

Designed for libraries to explore community engagement


  • Being knowledgeable about NLM resources and recognizing when these resources can be applied to meet community needs is a skill which combines expert knowledge, experience, and problem solving.
  • Community engagement combines ‘science’ and ‘art’ –knowing what resources you have that can be adapted to meet community needs, being able to identify the opportunity for engagement, and then facilitating change through intentional communication, respect, and the establishment of mutual trust.


Strategies for Intentionality

Setting Realistic Goals and Measuring Impact

Be transparent about the intentions of the project, set goals, and define what success will look like for the engagement opportunity. Throughout the engagement process, and at the ‘end’ of the process, reflect, solicit feedback, and explore ways to improve.

Things to Consider:

  • Flexibility is important, but setting reasonable plans is needed to guide the engagement process.

Tools to Use:

  • Mission statement
  • Goal planning
  • Collaborative tools like Google Jamboard, Trello, or OneNote

Resources for Setting Realistic Goals and Measuring Impact:




Community engagement is not easy and may not always be successful. Reflecting on what worked, what did not, and trying again despite difficulties, is a necessary part of the work.

Things to Consider:

  • When and how will you get feedback?
  • What have the mutual impacts of the project been so far?
  • How will you manage stress and cope with failure, or success?
  • How will you share results with the community?
  • Who has ownership of the data (feedback, research or other resources)?

Tools to Use:

  • Survey software
  • Journaling
  • Data dashboards


About the Toolkit

This toolkit was originally created by NLM Fellow Allison Cruise in conjunction with the Office of Engagement & Training at the National Library of Medicine. Allison Cruise spent her 2nd Fellowship Year at UNM HSLIC.