Civic Switchboard 2024 Institutes

Civic data describes a broad range of information related to community life and the decision-making and policies that affect people and places; it can include not only data produced by governmental organizations, but also non-profits, civic institutions (like libraries!), and other community-based organizations.

Through our Civic Data Literacy for Libraries: A Civic Switchboard Institute project, we will host six regional and one online institutes in 2024 for library workers interested in serving as intermediaries between community members and civic data and developing civic data roles for their libraries.

Each Institute will bring together 20 library workers who are currently working with civic data or who are interested in developing new civic data roles and projects in their libraries.

Institute Schedule

By participating in an Institute, you can:

  • Connect with other regional library workers and expand a community of practice focused on libraries and civic data;
  • Explore your civic data ecosystem and potential roles for your library;
  • Connect with exemplars of library civic data intermediary work by engaging with the work of host sites;
  • Discover critical dimensions of data work, including power, social justice, and responsible data practices to mitigate harms;
  • Help improve civic data educational materials for a library audience.



  • Participant introductions
  • An introduction to open civic data
  • An introduction to library roles with civic data and case studies

LUNCH 12:30-1:30PM

  • Exploring participants’ local civic data ecosystems
  • Identifying community data interests
  • Identifying and sharing roles for participants’ library


  • Regional host workshop segment on library civic data work
  • An introduction to critical data literacies

LUNCH 12:15-1PM

  • Discussion about community of practice model for practice model
  • Overview of resources for moving forward with civic data work

We are pleased to be working with incredible regional partners who will host the 2-day Institutes in 2024:

  • Alex Chassanoff and Amanda Henley (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill) for a Chapel Hill, NC workshop
  • Sean Smith and Lisa Spiro Fondren Library at Rice University for a Houston, TX workshop;
  • Matthew Sisk (The University of Notre Dame) for a South Bend, IN workshop;
  • Nancee Hunter and Savannah Madden (Portland State University) for a Portland, OR workshop;
  • Garrett Dash Nelson and Ian Spangler (Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library) for a Boston, MA workshop.
  • Pittsburgh, PA, the location of the Civic Switchboard team, will also serve as a workshop site, and we will offer one entirely online workshop.