Communities of Practice


Sign up today to participate.  You are welcome to join one or more CoPs that interest you - see list of CoPs.

Login and select a CoP listserv to join a CoP, or for more detailed instructions, read how to join an MLA listserv.

Once subscribed to the listserv, you will receive a confirmation e-mail.

Read the Community of Practice Handbook for details on facilitator and participant roles, a technology guide and more.

Communities of Practice Overview

National associations such as the Special Libraries Association, the Public Library Association and the American Health Information Management Association have successfully developed Communities of Practice (CoPs) to create and archive knowledge, develop and document best practices, solve problems and build relationships among professionals.

What is a Community of Practice and why is it important?

  • They are a place where colleagues an network and share information on topics of shared interest.
  • They can retain knowledge in "living" ways, unlike a database or a manual.
  • They can steward competencies to keep an organization at the cutting edge.
  • They provide homes for identities. They are not as temporary as teams, and unlike business units, they are organized around what matters to their members.

What do MLA members want and what will CoPs do for me?

MLA members want the opportunity to network and pursue topics of interest. MLA Communities of Practice are intended to be:

  • groups by topic or interest area;
  • flexible to meet member interests and needs;
  • inclusive of all MLA members throughout the state;
  • supportive of peer–to-peer professional development;
  • a means for identification of emerging issues and professional development needs.

They require voluntary leadership. Member participation drives the community and participation is in the hands of the members. Communities are primarily Web-based so that all members may participate and have open access to the same information. Community lifecycles are dependent on member interest, topic timeliness or relevance, and whether members want to produce a concrete product or output beyond archived discussions.

Why should I participate?

This is your chance to help build something to meet the needs of library professionals in Michigan. By participating in a CoP that matters to you, you can explore networking opportunities online with colleagues and engage with others as you wrestle with a problem and find solutions. You can connect with your peers and lead MLA into the future.

What outcomes do we want to achieve through Communities of Practice?

The members of the Transitional Leadership Forum identified seven key outcomes that they want to achieve through Communities of Practice:

  1. Open access to all and broad participation by members
  2. A supportive forum for networking and discussion
  3. Simple, clear, easy process to get involved and participate
  4. A warehouse of member-created resources
  5. The incubation of new initiatives
  6. A positive, rewarding culture within MLA
  7. A powerful, united presence in the community at large

How do I get involved?

Login to the MLA Membership Service Center through this link and select a CoP listserv to join a CoP.

Joining the list-serv is all that is required to become a member of a Community of Practice.

For more detailed instructions, read how to join a MLA Community of Practice.