My last engagement in the Chicago area was a long range planning workshop with the board and staff of my home town library, the library that inspired me to become a librarian.
Our main exercise was "visioning" -- trying to see what a shared vision might look like for the future. And there was indeed a common vision: a library that was safe, clean, and healthy; a staff that was warm and welcoming. There were a lot of other clever and interesting ideas as well.
I find it encouraging: most of the time, when you sit down with the public to dream about what a library could and should be, they get it, they have great ideas, and they get excited about it.
I also continue to believe that after a couple generations of tearing down our public institutions, it just might be time to put them together again.