Community Engagement Resource Guide

Diverse group of people with their arms raised up giving a thumbs up signal. 

This guide is intended to assist librarians, public health practitioners, medical providers, researchers, other information and health professionals, and community members who are interested in conducting health information outreach through community engagement. Included are tools to better engage and meet the needs of specific communities, as well as examples and templates for easy reference while planning, implementing, and evaluating engagement.     

Utilizing the MAP-IT (Moblize, Assess, Plan, Implement, Track) Framework, as adapted  from Healthy People 2020, a clear path for successful community engagement is outlined with each section of this guide covering each step of the MAP-IT framework. Within each section, a variety of resources are provided to assure options that best address unique community needs and interests and present a logical path forward. 

MAP-IT Resources

To learn more about the MAP-IT Framework, follow the links below:

Mobilize Assess Plan Implement Track


Sign held up that reads Theory Into Practice

Mobilize individuals and organizations that care about the health of your community into a coalition.

NNLM Webinars

Additional Resources

Community Tool Box: Creating and Maintaining Coalitions and Partnerships 

  • This Community Tool Box chapter provides information that helps one build and maintain coalitions and partnerships within their communities.   

Community Tool Box: Increasing Participation and Membership  

  • This Community Tool Box chapter provides information on how to increase participation and membership and asks you to consider who and why participants are a good fit for the task at hand. 

Community Tool Box: Involving People Most Affected by the Problem 

  • This Community Tool Box chapter explains the importance of involving people directly affected by the problem you are looking to improve. 

Let's Move in Libraries: Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library: A Toolkit

  • The Let's Move in Libraries community engagement toolkit illustrates the importance of building and maintaining community relationships and outlines how to do the work effectively. Cultivating community partnerships requires getting buy-in from administrators, funders, and everyone involved in community outreach. This toolkit provides tips on how to win that support as well as steps to assure your library is relationship-driven, engaged, and communited to community partnerships.

National Center for Cultural Competence 

  • This webpage provides information on what a cultural broker is and how they can be beneficial and utilized. 

Office of Minority Health

  • This website provides information and tools dedicated to decreasing health disparities and improving health outcomes among racial and ethnic minority populations.

Strength puzzle piece on top of weakness gap of a puzzle

Assess the areas of greatest need in your community, as well as the resources and other strengths that you can tap into to address those areas.

NNLM Webinars

Additional Resources

Collaborative of Neighborhood Transformation: What is Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) 

Community Tool Box: Developing Baseline Measures 

  • This Community Tool Box chapter provides information on how to choose the right indicators or baseline to best assess if the solution or intervention is effective in your community. 

Healthy! Capital Counties: Asset Mapping

  • This tool from Healthy! Capital Counties provides users with an easy to use asset mapping tool to use both with professionals and community members. 

NYU Grossman School of Medicine Department of Population Health - City Health Dashboard

  • The City Health Dashboard provides regularly updated data specific to neighboard and/or city boundaries - such as life expectancy, parck access, and children in poverty - to improve the health and well-being of everyone in the community.

Pin on a Map

Plan your approach: start with a vision of where you want to be as a community; then add strategies and action steps to help you achieve that vision.

NNLM Webinars and Resources

NNLM Evaluation Center: 5 Steps to Evaluation

  • The Network of the National Library of Medicine’s Evaluation Center (NEC) provides a five step planning guide on how to evaluate if your plan or project meets its goals. 

Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control (CDC): Developing Program Goals and Measurable Objectives

  • The CDC provides this resource to help you develop goals and objectives in an easy to understand format using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, & Time-Bound) criteria. 

Community Tool Box: Techniques for Leading Group Discussions 

  • When in the planning process you have to be able to lead group discussions with your stakeholders. The Community Tool Box provides us with a chapter sharing tips on how to best move forward with your community.

Make It Happen

Implement your plan using concrete action steps that can be monitored and will make a difference.

NNLM Webinars and Resources

NNLM Evaluation Center: 5 Steps to Evaluation

  • The Network of the National Library of Medicine’s Evaluation Office (NEC) provides a five step planning guide on how to evaluate if your plan or project meets its goals. 

Additional Resources

CDC: Implementation and Evaluation 

  • This is information provided by the CDC that can be utilized for implementation and evaluation after first using the CHANGE Tool or the Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation Tool that can be found under general resources of this guide. 

Rural Health Information (RHI) Hub: Implementation Considerations 

  • This resource from the RHI HUB provides a great deal of information on what tasks to consider with your community during the implementation phase. It also provides implementation toolkits with a focus on the type of program or project of focus. 

Gears that read Measure, Control, Improve, Analyze, and Process Improvement

Track your progress over time.

NNLM Resources and Webinars

NNLM Evaluation Center: 5 Steps to Evaluation

The Network of the National Library of Medicine’s Evaluation Office (NEC) provides a five step planning guide on how to evaluate if your plan or project meets its goals. Considering this, the 5 steps are applied across 4 common populations including K-12 Health, Rural Health, Race & Ethnicity, and LGBTQIA+ Health, which we call pathways. 

Additional Resources

CDC: A Framework for Program Evaluation 

  • The CDC created a framework for program evaluation to assist users in evaluating their programs in a matter that is practical by following an approach to evaluation that is integrated into the programs day to day operations. 

CDC: Developing an Effective Evaluation Plan: Setting the Course for Effective Program Evaluation 

  • This workbook provides a six-step framework for the decisions and activities involved in conducting an evaluation. It can be used for guidance and facilitate capacity building on a wide range of evaluation topics. Resources in this workbook can be adapted to meet the evaluation needs of its users.

Community Tool Box: Choosing Questions and Planning the Evaluation

  • In this chapter provided by the Community Tool Box, users will learn how to decide what questions to ask, when they should be asked, and who should be involved as a part of planning the evaluation process. 

Community Tool Box: Developing an Evaluation Plan 

  • The Community Tool Box provides us with a chapter that will explain why, when, and how to develop an evaluation plan. 

Community Tool Box: Evaluating the Initiative

  • This is a tool kit which provides a step by step guide on how to evaluate your initiative or project.

Sign that reads, "What do you need to succeed?"

NNLM Webinar: Using the Community Tool Box to Support Health Education and Health Promotion Efforts - July 2020 

CDC: Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation (CHANGE) Tool 

  • The CHANGE Tool or Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation Tool was created by the CDC to assist those that want to gather data and resources in hopes of improving the health of their community.  

Healthy People 2030

  • The Healthy People is an initiative developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services to guide national health promotion and disease prevention efforts to improve the health of the nation. 

Community Tool Box 

  • This is a tool designed by the University of Kansas in which they created core competencies to teach others how to collaborate with and build healthy communities. 

DePaul University Asset-Based Community Development Institute  

  • This is a toolkit designed by faculty of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University, as well as individuals and organizations. This will provide resources on the basics of asset mapping, as well as how to conduct asset mapping. 

Healthy Teen Network: Best Practices for Community Engagement

  • This guide created by the Healthy Teen Network provides information and tips on community engagement with adolescents and teens. 

Let’s Move in Libraries: Cultivating the Relationship-Driven Library 

  • Let’s Move in Libraries is managed by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Education. Let’s Move in Libraries strives to assist public libraries with developing creative ideas for programming, share success stories, and encourage new community partnerships with a focus on healthy living, physical and mental. 

Libraries Transforming Communities 

  • This is a workbook created by the American Library Association to assist with understanding the community that one works within and how to better understand and prioritize the needs of that community.    

National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

  • This website provides a wealth of information related to climate change, outreach, performance improvement, public health, and various health conditions. NACCHO also provides toolkits and other resources through their website.  

Rural Community Health Toolkit  

  • This toolkit created by the Rural Health Information Hub provides information, resources, and materials to assist those in and working with rural communities to develop needed health programing.

WHO Strategic Communications Framework for Effective Communications  

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) created a framework for effective communication. When working with individuals different from yourself, clear communication is key to a successful partnership. 

Person browsing books on a bookshelf.

Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship 

  • “The Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship (JCES) is a peer-reviewed international journal through which faculty, staff, students, and community partners disseminate scholarly works. JCES integrates teaching, research, and community engagement in all disciplines, addressing critical problems identified through a community-participatory process.”

Journal of Community Practice 

  • “The Journal of Community Practice is an interdisciplinary journal grounded in social welfare. The journal provides a forum for community practice, including community organizing, planning, social administration, organizational development, community development, social action, and social change. The journal contributes to the advancement of knowledge related to numerous disciplines, including social work and the social sciences, urban planning, social and economic development, community organizing, policy analysis, urban and rural sociology, community health, public administration, and nonprofit management. As a forum for authors and a resource for readers, this journal makes an invaluable contribution to practice in community settings from conceptualization to implementation to evaluation.”

Journal of Deliberative Democracy

  • “The Journal of Deliberative Democracy (formerly the Journal of Public Deliberation) is an open access journal publishing articles that shape the course of scholarship on deliberative democracy. It is the forum for the latest thinking, emerging debates, alternative perspectives, as well as critical views on deliberation. The journal welcomes submissions from all theoretical and methodological traditions. It aims to be the platform to broker knowledge between scholars and practitioners of citizen engagement.”