Applications Open for Civic Switchboard Institute in Portland, OR!

Through the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), we are pleased to be hosting six regional and one online Civic Switchboard Institutes in 2024. Applications are now open for the first of the regional Institutes in Portland, Oregon on July 11-12, 2024! Participants who are traveling from outside of Portland, OR are eligible to receive an honorarium to offset travel expenses. For best consideration, applications to the Portland Institute are due on May 9 (if space allows, we will accept applications following this date). We will notify applicants of application decisions on May 10.

Please complete the online Application Form (Google Form) to apply.

About the Civic Switchboard Institute

The Civic Switchboard Institute in Portland, OR will bring together 20 library workers interested in serving as intermediaries between community members and civic data and developing civic data roles for their libraries. There are several goals for the regional Civic Switchboard Institutes, including:

  • 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.

The Institute is designed around several hands-on activities that will help participants get a better handle on their own civic data ecosystems, design local roles, and learn from peers from across the region. For the Portland Institute in May, we are excited to be partnering with colleagues from Portland State University. Nancee Hunter is the PI on an IMLS funded project called “GIS-Mapping Exchange for Libraries.” The project provides training to library workers on geospatial data and mapping “in hopes of showing how this knowledge can positively impact their service to library patrons.” David Banis is GIS Lab Manager & Associate Director of the Center for Spatial Analysis & Research at Portland State University. We are grateful to their collaboration.


All library workers based in the United States are eligible to apply. Attendees can be from public, academic, government, or another type of library. Civic Switchboard has planned multiple regional institutes to make attendance more accessible. While we expect many participants will choose to apply to the institute that is geographically closest to them, regional proximity is not a requirement of eligibility. Participants must be able to attend both days of the Institute (July 11 and 12). Please see the application for additional information about our review criteria and contact the Civic Switchboard Team with any questions:

Schedule for the Regional and Online Institutes

Applications for more regional Civic Switchboard Institutes and the online Institute will open in the upcoming weeks and months! We are pleased to be working with partners at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library, Portland State University, the University of Notre Dame, and Rice University to host a series of Institutes around the country.

  • April 18-19, 2024 : Pittsburgh, PA Institute (Applications now open)
  • May 13-14, 2024: Chapel Hill, NC Institute (Applications now open)
  • June 27-28, 2024: Boston, MA Institute (Applications now open)
  • July 11-12, 2024: Portland, OR Institute (Applications now open)
  • August 1-2, 2024: South Bend, IN Institute (Applications will open April 12)
  • October 17-18, 2024: Houston, TX Institute (Applications will open June 28)
  • November 7 and 14, 2024: Online Institute (Applications will open July 19)

    Stay Engaged!

    We hope you will join us for a Civic Switchboard Institute and community of practice programming. Sign up for the Civic Data Operators Discussion Group to receive email updates about the Institutes and future dates for the community calls!