Aspen Institute Hosts Winter Park Library Dialogue in Collaboration with Winter Park Public Library

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For Immediate Release



Aspen Institute Hosts Winter Park Library Dialogue in Collaboration with Winter Park Public Library

 Washington, DC, June 2, 2016 – The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries, in partnership with the Winter Park Public Library, is hosting a public event, “Your Winter Park Library: A Conversation About the Future,” that takes place on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the University Club in Winter Park. This conversation will feature keynote presentations by Richard Adler, Distinguished Fellow, Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California, and John Bracken, Vice President for Media Innovation at the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, followed by discussion and engagement with the audience. This event is free and open to the public.

The public event will be followed by a gathering of community leaders and representatives to discuss the role of the library in meeting the changing needs of individuals and the community as technology, education, economic and social transformations are occurring. The dialogue includes a select group of civic leaders and takes place on Thursday, June 9, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center.

The goal of the Winter Park Library Dialogue is to advance new thinking about the role of the public library in the city of Winter Park,” says Amy Garmer, Director, Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries. “The Winter Park Library Task Force’s two years of work laid the foundation for a broader discussion about the library’s role in meeting the future needs of the community. The Dialogue brings together representative stakeholders from across the community who will engage in conversations about how the library’s programs, services, and resources can better align with the goals, priorities, and aspirations of the Winter Park community today and in the future. In addition, we’ll discuss how to strengthen existing library initiatives and explore opportunities for new partnerships to benefit all members of the community.”

The Winter Park Dialogue will be a model for convening library conversations in other communities across the country. Community dialogues about aligning library programs and services with community goals and priorities can be a catalyst for action to strengthen and transform the role of libraries as critical platforms for learning, community development and innovation. 

The Winter Park Library Dialogue is built on a framework established by an Aspen Institute report, Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, introduced in October 2014, that explores how public libraries can respond as the digital age increases the demand for high-speed information access, and changes in our education systems, innovative job training models, and additional community services help people and communities compete in the new economy. Participants in the Winter Park Library Dialogue will address the four strategic opportunities identified in the Aspen Institute vision report:

  1. Aligning library services in support of community goals
  2. Providing access to content in all formats
  3. Cultivating leadership and citizenship in the community
  4. Ensuring the long-term sustainability of the public library

Winter Park is the first of five communities across the country with which the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries will be work over in the next year and a half.

“I am honored that Winter Park Public Library has been chosen to be the first city in Aspen’s Dialogue series,” said Shawn Shaffer, Executive Director, Winter Park Public Library. “We are at a pivotal time in our library’s history with so many new and exciting opportunities before us. The opportunity to gather additional insights about how to further align the library with community goals and needs will be so helpful in our planning for the future.”

The following individuals will be a part of the daylong convening:

Larry Adams, Principal, ACi Architects
Richard Adler, Fellow, Institute for the Future
Jeffrey Blydenburgh, President, Jeffrey Blydenburgh Architect
John Bracken, Vice President of Media Innovation, Knight Foundation
Audra Bussey, Educational Consultant, Public Libraries, Cengage Learning
Daniel Butts, COO, Battaglia Group Management, LLC
Patrick Chapin, President/CEO, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce
Ali DeMaria, Executive Director, Winter Park Day Nursery
Michael English, Senior Vice President, Customer Contact Centers & Electronic Distribution, Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Mike Gallagher, Consultant, Eldora Partners
Amy Garmer, Director, Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries
John Gill, President & CEO, Quest
Ken Goldstone, COO, Full Sail University
Norman Jacknis, President, Metropolitan New York Library Council
Stacey Johnson, East Campus President, Valencia College
Randy Knight, City Manager, City of Winter Park
Mayor Steve Leary, Mayor of Winter Park, City of Winter Park
Patricia Maddox, President and CEO, Winter Park Health Foundation
Micki Meyer, Assistant VP of Student Affairs, Rollins College
Ronnie Moore, Assistant Director, Parks and Recreation, City of Winter Park
Marina Nice, Client Advisor, SunTrust
David A. Odahowski, President & CEO, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation
David Rider, Executive Director, Winter Park YMCA Family Center
Shawn Shaffer, Executive Director, Winter Park Public Library
Sarah Sprinkel, Elementary Director, Florida Virtual School
Maureen Sullivan, Past President, American Library Association
Cyria Underwood, Manager, Hannibal Square Heritage Center
Maria Vazquez, Area Superintendent, Orange County Public Schools
Chip Weston, Owner, Chip Weston Studios

More information about the Aspen Dialogue on Public Libraries can be found at

The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries is a multi-stakeholder forum to explore and champion new thinking on US public libraries, with the goal of fostering concrete actions to support and transform public libraries for a more diverse, mobile and connected society. The Dialogue is managed by the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, which focuses on projects and initiatives that address the societal impact of communications and information technologies and provides a multidisciplinary venue for considered judgment on communications policy issues.

The Winter Park Public Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization delivering high quality public education to Winter Park citizens for over 130 years. Its mission is to improve quality of life for citizens by providing information, education, and entertainment tailored to their changing needs.  For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has an office in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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