Community Tool Box: Promoting community health and development by connecting people, ideas and resources

Community Tool Box is probably the most extensive (maybe even the best) Community Development resource on the planet. A public service of the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas, it contains (as of this date) over 7,000 pages of practical information. Its purpose is to make it easier for people to bring about change and improvement in their communities. And it’s safe to say that CTB fulfills its purpose.

As you can see from the screenshot below, the site is easy to navigate. The section Use the Community Tool Box outlines alternative ways to find what you need. You can read the site as you would a book, by browsing the Table of Contents. Click on Do the Work to answer the question “What kind of work do you want to do today?” If you’re dealing with a specific problem, click on Solve a Problem for some troubleshooting guides. Say, for example, that you’re not getting enough community participation. Guide #5 asks you 13 questions, each of which is answered by links to relevant pages in the CTB.

If you’re more of a systems gal with a fondness for flowcharts, Using Promising Approaches walks you through a 12-step process (why is it always 12 steps?) Click on a box and you’ll jump to a page that includes links to, among other things, “evidence-based mechanisms”, checklists, assessment tools, and sources/resources (watch out for falling footnotes!).

Finally, click on Connect with Others to Ask an Advisor specific questions relevant to your community work (check out the roster of experts); find links (with descriptions) to hundreds (maybe thousands, I didn’t actually count) of other resources; links to Databases of Best Practices; and links to the CTB blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed.

To see how Ask an Advisor works, I asked a question (part of which I later answered for myself by browsing the site – RTFM!). I’ll let you know when I hear back. In the meantime, here’s a list of previous Qs & As. [UPDATE: my question was answered, here.]

JK (as my tweener might say) on the “finally”. Click on Services on the navbar to see a menu of other CTB and KU Work Group products and services (what’s up with charging for the workbooks? Capitalists!) Among them is a thing called WorkStations, “customized online platforms that provide access to announcements, online tools, shared documents, success stories, discussion forums, chat rooms, and more … enabling groups to more effectively do their collaborative work”.

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