The Role of Cuyahoga County Public Libraries to Advance 21st Century Regional Workforce Development Written by Betsey Merkel

, Co-Founder and Director The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) January 2008 This document offers opening discussion points to understand the 21st Century role of libraries to accelerate regional innovation in education, economic, and workforce development. The document includes suggestions for developing next steps to build open, innovation networks with the Cuyahoga County Public Libraries embedded in those networks to accelerate entrepreneurship and regional prosperity. The Situation “Given the central role of the public library in so many communities, and its proven positive economic impact, why haven’t public libraries played a more central role in community economic development?...In short, there is both a knowledge and resource gap between the role that public libraries could play in enhancing local economic development, and the role they currently play.” - Christine Hamilton-Pennell, Founder and President, Growing Local Economies, Denver, Colorado There is a need for substantially higher levels of engagement, collaboration, and workforce development to ensure transformative change in Northeast Ohio. The Cuyahoga County Public Library is uniquely positioned to be an integral part of workforce development for a sustainable Northeast Ohio. From the State Science and Technology Institute’s Newsletter 11/7/2007: “On Tuesday, exactly one year before the U.S. goes to the polls to choose its next president, the Brookings Institution launched a national competitiveness initiative titled Blueprint for American Prosperity: Unleashing the Potential of a Metropolitan Nation. The central premise of the Blueprint is that the “health, vitality, and prosperity” of the major
© The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH 44113 I-Open is a 501(c)3 economic development organization developing new practices and tools for Open Source Development, a process for exponential growth in communities and regions.

cities and metropolitan areas in the U.S. will be the drivers of the country’s ability to compete globally and meet future economic, social, and environmental challenges. Metropolitan areas in the country are an engine of economic growth, educational attainment, and cultural creativity. Vice president and director of Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program Bruce Katz made the case as to why the nation’s metro areas are critically important to the nation’s well-being...and contended that the U.S. federal government is out of step with the rapid changes affecting the new spatial geography of the changing economy. The leadership in other countries – such as China, Germany and Spain – is utilizing their federal governments to make critical investments, strengthen connectivity and infrastructure, and promote emerging technologies, compared to a U.S. federal government often seen as “strangely adrift,” Katz argued. Katz argued the U.S. federal government needs to lead where it can and must with priority issues for reform to boost innovation and productivity in priority areas of urban school reform, attaining higher levels of educational attainment, improving transportation linkages between and within metro areas, increasing the supply of workforce housing, and improving the energy efficiency of the nation’s housing.” Tuesday, November 6, 2007, The Cleveland Plain Dealer published 30 pages of delinquent Cuyahoga County property tax payments, an early indicator of home owners on their way toward foreclosure. What is the role of Ohio libraries to advance economic growth, educational attainment, and cultural creativity in communities and regions? Ohio Libraries and 21st Century Community and Workforce Development Ohio’s libraries are an outstanding legacy treasure for all Ohioans. This robust, connected network of premier physical facilities offer all citizens convenient, local community access to skilled information science experts, high speed Internet, computers, diverse publications, multi media, and free parking.
© The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH 44113 I-Open is a 501(c)3 economic development organization developing new practices and tools for Open Source Development, a process for exponential growth in communities and regions.

Every Northeast Ohio community has access to a library. Libraries offer safe, neutral convening places for entrepreneurs, students, and civic leaders to meet and work. Quality of access is an increasingly valuable and often scarce resource integral to enterprise building. These are fundamental qualities to the preservation of democracy and civility and are now considered competitive assets in building “attractor” communities and regions. How will communities and regions collaborate to leverage legacy assets invested in Ohio libraries to strengthen workforce and enterprise development in Northeast Ohio? This is a complex task in a new, and unaccustomed environment; certainly not a job for a single organization or county. Who will we partner with? How will we proceed? What are our next steps? Our Ohio library system offers a set of services unique in the country key to workforce and prosperity building in Ohio. By aligning, linking and leveraging library services with the needs of every community’s regional workforce, we can avoid fragmentation between talent, skills, new business, employers and potential future employers. How we choose to identify, connect, and align Cuyahoga County Public Library assets and the needs of the Northeast Ohio workforce are the first steps toward ensuring a sustainable and transformative future for Northeast Ohio. Community and workforce development must begin by teaching communities 21st century skills, practices and tools needed to sustain local talent and accelerate enterprise development. These skills, embedded in the practices and tools of Open Source Economic Development, rebuild our civic spaces and revitalize the community network infrastructure often absent today and essential to building and sustaining prosperity.

© The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH 44113 I-Open is a 501(c)3 economic development organization developing new practices and tools for Open Source Development, a process for exponential growth in communities and regions.

Our next steps are to identify, connect, and align library assets and resources with community and workforce needs. These actions take the form of new skills training, exploring partnership and program opportunities, and engaging library administration, staff and communities in a Strategic Doing process to identify the role of Cuyahoga County Public Libraries in 21st century workforce development. Skills Training, Social Networking and Workforce Development for Library Staff and their Communities Step One: New Practices and Tools in Open Source Economic Development The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) builds open networks of collaboration with colleges, universities and libraries embedded in these networks. Our approach focuses on Open Source Economic Development (OSED), a proven method that integrates collaborative leadership, social networks, and Strategic Doing - a process that involves moving quickly from ideas to next steps. Economic development takes place in the Civic Space, an area outside the four walls of any organization, making libraries ideal environments for enterprise and workforce development. I-Open teaches communities and organizations how to build on-line collaborative communities, accelerating economic development. To accomplish this, I-Open recently announced it’s collaboration with NearTime.net, a technology company based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, specializing in sophisticated integrated Web 2.0 platforms. See this press release for more information: http://www.webknowhow.net/news/ press/070514NearTime.html A collaboration of CCPL and I-Open to teach Open Source Economic Development will lead to improved behaviors and speedier implementation growing collaborative communities.

© The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH 44113 I-Open is a 501(c)3 economic development organization developing new practices and tools for Open Source Development, a process for exponential growth in communities and regions.

Step Two: Expand New Partnership Opportunities CCPL’s participation in I-Open’s expanding national network will lead to a higher level of connectivity and opportunities for administration, staff, and library communities. • Purdue University’s, Center for Regional Development is leading 14 counties in North Central Indiana’s Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) initiative http://www.doleta.gov/ wired/, a 3-year $15 M accelerated program for high performance production in entrepreneurship, manufacturing and education. • The Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma has offered an accredited curriculum in Open Source Economic Development for national economic development professionals since the early 1990’s. • The National Renewable Energy Lab and the Department of Labor has asked I-Open to co-lead a national community of practice in renewable energy. In Indiana, an Energy Network of young students has already been established. • The Edward Lowe Foundation http://www.lowe.org/ a national organization devoted to strengthening American entrepreneurship and specifically second stage growth companies, partners with I-Open in educational workshops on Open Source Economic Development leadership training for communities, foundations, and economic development professionals. Step Three: Public Programs to Engage Private Business Leadership and Accelerate Enterprise Development CCPL’s participation in I-Open’s project network will lead to higher levels of engagement in library communities and accelerate local entrepreneurship, enterprise, and workforce development.
© The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH 44113 I-Open is a 501(c)3 economic development organization developing new practices and tools for Open Source Development, a process for exponential growth in communities and regions.

• Purdue University - Cuyahoga County Public Libraries Curriculum Partnership Expansion of the Open Source Economic Development certification program to an on-line format for library staff, students, business leaders, and regional economic development professionals. • Civic Forums@The Library Civic Forums are the lowest cost marketing opportunity available to connect to the hardest-to-reach audiences. Weekly forums connect to I-Open’s larger regional and national social network to provide training, coaching, and build online communities with Web 2.0 tools. Forums build valuable enterprise development networks between a community’s students, business, government, and civic leadership. • Host Skills Training Community Workshops Skills training workshops teach new skills to civic, business, government, and academic leaders so that they have the skills they need to move transformative ideas and enterprises to next steps. Workshops topics cover: Open Source Economic Development; Skills in Social Media; Building Online Communities; Civic Forums; Social Network Mapping; Collaborative Leadership and Civility; Building Creative Communities; and Strategic Doing. We have outlined a simple three phase process (below) to build open, innovation networks with public libraries embedded in those networks to accelerate entrepreneurship, workforce development and build regional prosperity. We invite your comments and suggestions. Phase One Engage the library administration and staff to participate in an I-Open Leadership Retreat focusing on 21st Century practices and tools for Open Source Economic Development, building on-line communities and identifying Cuyahoga County Public Library leadership initiatives to accelerate community and workforce development.
© The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH 44113 I-Open is a 501(c)3 economic development organization developing new practices and tools for Open Source Development, a process for exponential growth in communities and regions.

Phase Two Begin I-Open Civic Forums hosted by Cuyahoga County Public Libraries to address the changing role of libraries in community and workforce development, and engage the community to identify initiatives to accelerate enterprise and workforce development. Phase Three Design next steps to identify, connect, and align existing library, community, and regional resources to accelerate community and regional workforce development. Our Immediate Next Steps With library leaders, I-Open will design a Strategic Doing process to engage, train and coach library staff and their communities in 21st century practices, tools, metrics, and deliverables for Open Source Economic Development, Strategic Doing, and build on-line communities. These actions will advance the role of public libraries in 21st century workforce development. Collaboratively, we will write a multi-faceted planning grant for a partnership program of activities. I-Open will design a customized document to itemize roles and responsibilities, services and timelines to engage library administration, staff and their communities. Contact Susan Altshuler at susanaltshuler@gmail.com or at 216-577-9957

© The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH 44113 I-Open is a 501(c)3 economic development organization developing new practices and tools for Open Source Development, a process for exponential growth in communities and regions.

Appendix A. Our Team Edward F. Morrison Regional Director, Communities and Regions Policy Advisor, Purdue University for the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED initiative) National Economic Development Practitioner Phone: 216-650-7267 E-mail: edmorrison@earthlink.net Betsey Merkel Director of Research, Network Development, Web 2.0 Design and Communications Phone: 216-246-2447 E-mail: betseymerkel@gmail.com Susan Altshuler Director of Development, Finance and Grant/Contract Administration Phone: 216-577-9957 E-mail: susanaltshuler@gmail.com Dennis Coughlin Director of Operations Phone: 216-288-2698 E-mail: denniscoughlin@i-open.org B. I-Open’s History of Service with Northern Ohio libraries and the Cuyahoga County Workforce Investment Board • Cleveland Area Metropolitan Library System (CAMLS) Annual Meeting 2005 Ed Morrison, Keynote: “Building Brainpower: The Role of Libraries in Regional Economic Development.”

© The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH 44113 I-Open is a 501(c)3 economic development organization developing new practices and tools for Open Source Development, a process for exponential growth in communities and regions.

• I-Open / Northern Ohio Library Civic Forum Collaboration from July through November 2005. Participating libraries included Shaker Heights Public Library, Fairview Park Branch and Independence Branch of the CCPL, Myers University Library, Maple Heights Regional Library. Topics included Organizational Development, the NEO Teleworking Initiative, Green Energy Oho Wind Project, Cuyahoga County and City of Cleveland Workforce Investment Board Forum, the North Coast Book Festival, Cleveland Next Campaign, Cuyahoga County Community College Entrepreneurship Program. • Other libraries we have worked with: Lorain County Community College Library, East Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland State University Library • Cuyahoga County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) 2006 Strategic Plan, designed and lead by I-Open. C. The I-Open White Paper: http://i-open-civic-forums.near-time.net/files/IOpen.pdf D. The Civic Forum White Paper: http://i-open-civic-forums.near-time.net/ files/cfpaper.pdf

© The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) 4415 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, OH 44113 I-Open is a 501(c)3 economic development organization developing new practices and tools for Open Source Development, a process for exponential growth in communities and regions.

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