Working solo, or in partnership with Daniel Slife, squareONE formulates a brain trust focused on supporting leadership, and vitalizing visionary goals in public libraries. Our view of the library holds that it is a human system doing humanistic work in a humane civic system.

We support leadership and ambitious organizational goals by helping build sustainable human capacity in organizations.

Our approach can be distilled: we use deeply intentional experiential inquiries to help leaders and staff and stakeholders interrogate the core propositional bindings, mission, and history of the institution and its contexts. Then, we work to help the leadership and staff reinvigorate and reintegrate these necessary core bindings, build sustainable new initiatives, recommit to a collaborative culture focused on lifelong learning and care. Based in constructivist learning theory, our methodology aims to support a creative re-experience of the human system and its physical and social contexts.

squareONE’s unique capabilities are the result of joining together Daniel’s expertise in daily, practical and humanistic institutional leadership in the public library, with Stephen’s innovative skills in designing and guiding transformative learning.

Development tools feature a fundamental appreciative thrust. This is directed toward constructively leveraging self-awareness for the sake of sustaining and strengthening the library’s mission, as it must unfold day in and day out. Nothing ever gets pulled off any shelf. Everything is purpose-built and fit to address mundane and audacious objectives.

Alignment matters. To be aligned with squareONE’s approach, a public library has to be dedicated to the classical view of the modern American Public Library. This view broadly holds the library to be a civically engaged institution devoted to supporting the emancipatory power of: the written word, culture, lifelong learning, diversity, and, above all: devoted to deep care for the community and its citizens.

contact: Stephen Calhoun (216) 269-5568

précis of a description of Strategic Planning Intention

The aim is: that the process of developing and creating a library strategic plan affords all the internal and external stakeholders the chance to revisit the network of objectives, and its integration within the communion of institutional and civic values.

Our working constructive assumption for this process asserts that shared and individual experience animated by collaborative inquiry provides a means for appreciating both the routine network of aims, and, appreciating the more subtle and more idealized network of aspirations.

(Our own perspective holds that a library’s commitment to learning means that the library also mediates day in and day out a person’s aspirations, dreams, curiosity, concrete hopes, etc.. We view the library as a humanistic and humanitarian endeavor concerned with supporting learning and development.)

IN4tuity (2014-2015)

Kenneth Warren passed away suddenly May 21, 2015

(Stephen notes on July 27, 2015)

Because of the passing on of my dear friend, colleague, partner in IN4tuity, Ken Warren, IN4tuity has been subsumed by squareONE:experiential toolmakers. squareONE: experiential toolmakers, aims to support the mission of public libraries, provides experience-based staff development and support for inquiry-based strategic curation, strategic planning and organizational learning.