Partnerships and Collaborations

Partnerships and Collaborations

Partnerships and collaborations are “mutually beneficial and well-defined relationships entered into by two or more organizations to achieve common goals…a jointly developed structure, shared responsibility, mutual authority, accountability for success; and sharing of resources and rewards” (Mattessich, P. et al, 2001).

Addressing the predicted “silver tsunami” embodied in the aging Baby Boomers will require designing strategies that promote healthy or vital aging and meaningful engagement. Indeed, there are numerous possible partners who can bring expertise, shared interest, market access, and additional resources to developing such strategies.

Collaboration is a powerful way to accomplish what no single organization can accomplish alone. Leveraging the strengths of the public library with those of others in the community – individuals and organizations – increases the probability that your public library and your partners will “transform life after 50.”

IMLS Fellowship Course

Partnerships and Collaborations

Instructor: Stephen Ristau [email protected]

Along with Suzanne Flint, I designed and coordinated the delivery of the Transforming Life After 50 Fellowship. After serving as president and CEO of four non-profits in the northeast, my wife and I decided to transform our own lives after 50. My current work, PurposeWork, has focused on connecting non-profits and mid-life adults, for personal and social renewal. I see great opportunities for non-profits and public institutions, especially libraries, to engage the talents and passions of these experienced professionals.


Partnership Continuum (pdf)

Partnership Readiness Tool (pdf)


Palo Alto City Library partnered with Stanford University Medical Center for content experts and with many local businesses as program sponsors to support its Feed Your Head initiative.



Krile, James; Curphy, Gordon and Lund, Duane


Community Leadership Handbook: Framing Ideas, Building Relationships and Mobilizing Resources, The


St. Paul, MN: Fieldstone Alliance, 2006


Gives community members the tools to bring people together to make changes. Some of the useful resources included are: Identifying Community Assets; Community Problem Analysis; Accessing Community Data; Appreciative Inquiry; Translating Vision to Action; Interpersonal Communication for Leaders; Managing Interpersonal Conflict as a Leader; Building Social Capital Across Cultures; Network Mapping: Locating Your Social Capital; Stakeholders Analysis; Building Coalitions; Building Effective Community Teams; Recruiting and Sustaining Volunteers; Getting the Most from Your Meetings.