Asset Mapping at Halifax Public Libraries: A Tool for Beginning to Discover the Library’s Role with the Immigrant Community in Halifax

Kenneth William Williment, Tracey Jones-Grant


As library systems across Canada begin to grapple with the implications community-led service planning has on program and service development, new tools are being developed to assist library staff. Asset mapping is one community entry tool which allows library staff to access community members (or organizational representatives) and gather in-depth information impacting services and program identification, development, and implementation – either across a library system or within a branch catchment. By using this tool, through face-to-face conversations with service providers, library staff find out about existing community assets (such as programs and services different organizations offer) and begin to develop relationships with community members receiving services. Asset mapping provides libraries with information to identify priority services that complement existing community resources. The information collected extends beyond a directory and is used to develop and deliver services relevant to the needs of community.

This paper, based on a presentation given at the 2011 Canadian Library Association conference, discusses asset mapping as a first step to actively engaging community. As a first step in the engagement process, it specifically focuses on the process of asset mapping organizations that provide services to immigrants. Asset mapping is a powerful tool which can be implemented by librarians with any group of interest in order to understand community identified information needs, determine existing community strengths and assets, and to help understand the library's role in developing service and program responses to these needs.

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Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research (ISSN: 1911-9593)