Aspen Institute Picks WPPL for National Dialogue

Winter Park Library One of Five in Country Selected for National Dialogue Sessions

Winter Park residents invited to discuss the library transformation and role in the 21st century.

Winter Park, Fla. – The Winter Park Public Library has been selected by the prestigious Aspen Institute as one of five cities in the U.S. to be a site for its Dialogue on Public Libraries, a series of forums to explore and champion new thinking on US public libraries. The open-to-the-public community conversation will be Wednesday, June 8 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the University Club of Winter Park, 841 North Park Ave.

“Winter Park’s willingness to explore the future of the library and to embrace opportunities to re-envision its role for the 21st century will serve as a model for other communities across the country,” said Amy Garmer, Director of the Aspen Institute’s Dialogue on Public Libraries.

Attendees will learn more about libraries in the digital age. The program will feature keynote speakers John Bracken, Vice President for Media Innovation at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Richard Adler, Principal, People & Technology and Distinguished Fellow, Institute for the Future. Bracken is an experienced philanthropic investor in digital media, media policy, innovation and libraries. Adler is a visionary expert in the areas of new models of education and learning, aging and technology, and the future of healthcare.

“It’s an honor that The Aspen Institute selected Winter Park as a site to collect community wisdom and thinking about libraries,” said Library Executive Director Shawn Shaffer.  “We know The Aspen Institute was very impressed with the open and thoughtful process followed by the Library Facilities Task Force as well as the level of community involvement.”

The Community Conversation will be followed by a June 9 meeting of a community steering committee that will discuss the role of the library in meeting the changing needs of individuals and to share thoughts about their own needs and interests in the context of technological, educational, economic and social transformations. 

The information gathered from these sessions will be paired with that of other libraries around the country as part of the Aspen Institute’s efforts to identify, gather and showcase stories of library transformations around the country.

“The commitment from Winter Park’s elected, business and nonprofit leaders to establish a new library that can meet the changing needs of the community has been impressive as has the dedication of the library staff,” Garmer said.