Engage KFPL - Learn, Share Connect

Community Engagement

Community Engagement Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that community engagement is integrated into decision making and planning at KFPL. The policy also serves to ensure that community consultation is conducted in a manner that appropriately reflects the complexity, community interest and impact of KFPL decisions. Community engagement is an important tool for building and sustaining community trust.

2. Scope

The policy applies to all KFPL services and operations, with the exception of maintenance and repair issues which are exempt except for the requirement to “inform” the public.

The policy applies to higher-level decision-making rather than item-level choices regarding programs, collections and services.

3. Definitions

“The community” and “interested parties” are defined as library users, individuals and/or communities, funding bodies or organizations that have an interest in the outcomes of a project or initiative.

4. Guiding Principles

  • INCLUSION:   We want to hear from and include all who have an interest in the outcome of a decision. The Library is committed to reach out to the rural and urban populations across our vast geographic areas. KFPL prioritizes relationship building outside of the formal engagement process and is actively building connections with agencies and grassroots groups that work with underserved and underrepresented populations. These connections will be leveraged during any community engagement process to ensure feedback includes those voices. We will maximize accessibility by utilizing a variety of engagement tools.
  • RESPECT:  Our engagement with the community will take place in an atmosphere of mutual respect. 
  • TRANSPARENCY:  We will be open about decision processes, procedures and limits. We will communicate clearly in a timely and publicly accessible way. We will provide relevant background and context when informing or engaging the community about the initiative.
  • CLARITY:  We will be clear about defining the community’s role in any public participation process. The promise, purpose and limitations on engaging the community and all interested parties will be clear.
  • EFFECTIVENESS:  We will allocate sufficient resources to provide the appropriate level of engagement, use these resources wisely, setting and meeting reasonable timelines.
  • RESPONSIVENESS:  At each stage of the process, we will report back to the community regarding what we heard. When an outcome has been determined, we will share how engagement results were used in decision-making.

5. Policy

The Community Engagement Toolkit shall be used to determine when and what level of community engagement is needed.

6. Communication 

When communicating with the community, the Library will do so in accordance with the complexity and impact of the issue as determined by the Community Engagement Toolkit and in a manner that reflects the guiding principles. Details of the project will be shared in plain language, and shall include what has been done so far, why engagement is needed, what is being considered, what are the constraints, and how input is going to be used. To build credibility and trust in the engagement process, interested parties will also need to understand:

  • The overall engagement timeline
  • Details of the engagement activities
  • Who will be reviewing the input and making decisions
  • Their role in the process

A clear communication plan will be developed to shape the whole engagement process and provide clear answers to community questions/concerns from the earliest stages to reporting back results. The engagement plan will work together with the project’s communication plan to generate awareness about the engagement opportunities.

7. Engagement Planning

The Library will utilize the Community Engagement Toolkit to help shape a plan for engagement. The engagement plan serves as a roadmap for the engagement process and helps clarify:

  • Engagement goals and objectives
  • What KFPL is seeking input on
  • Who KFPL has identified as interested parties 
  • Details such as engagement scope, budget, timelines, dates, roles and responsibilities
  • The Spectrum of Strategies and Promises level at which the community will be engaged
  • Decisions that are not open to input

8. Reporting Back and Evaluation

KFPL will compile and consider feedback received and report back on:

  • What was heard (pulling all sources of input together).
  • What decision was made and how the input was used. 
  • If nothing was changed as a result of the feedback, why?

Raw data will be included in an Appendix in order for contributors to see their individual voices represented and ensure the reporting is an accurate reflection of the data.

Evaluation is important for continuous improvement. KFPL will evaluate both the engagement process and engagement outcomes, documenting lessons learned that can be applied to future projects, refining and improving our engagement efforts and approach.

9. Related Documents

KFPL Community Engagement Toolkit (internal use only)

10. Document Control

Original Policy Date: 2017 March

Last Reviewed: 2024 April

Changes Made: see report to Board dated April 24, 2024

Next Review: 2025 April