The CBLD Library was created 7 years ago as an open-access library to offer the food co-op sector no-cost templates, field guides and videos on a range of governance topics to be accessible to anyone. From board nominations to general manager monitoring reports, the library has assisted thousands in their quest to institute new ways of doing things, embrace best-practices, and build governance capacity.
Over the years the CDS Consulting Co-op Library (CDS CC) has grown to include hundreds of resources that focus on all areas of cooperative governance: expansions and new co-op development, financial reporting, and strengthening key relationships among co-op board, management and staff. The library has been a go-to resource since its inception because the information is created and curated by cooperative experts, and designed specifically for each co-op to tailor it to their organization. Plus, it’s hugely accessible. No passwords, renewals or signups necessary. It’s designed so anyone can get the information they need, anytime.
The library’s resources make information-gathering easy and practical, especially now that the site has been redesigned, and the materials are frequently updated. Resources in the CDS CC Library have been developed based on our collaborative work with clients and our observations in the field. “We develop resources based on what’s successful and that we know work,” said Mark Goehring, board leadership consultant, who was instrumental in developing the original CBLD Library. “The CDS Consulting Co-op does this work because we know the right tools make a difference.”
The framework of the site’s redesign is based on the Four Pillars of Cooperative Governance, which are Teaming, Accountable Empowerment, Strategic Leadership, and Democracy. The new CDS CC Library functions as a relational database, so users can easily browse multiple materials on a topic and find related content. Some of the features site visitors will find include information bundling by topic, author-contact info, the ability to leave a question or comment, and to share documents with others. Joel Brock, consulting technologist for the site said, “The new library is a revolution. It will throw the doors open in terms of the available and searchable information.”
The library will also continue to improve and evolve to broaden the content in new categories including human resources, operations and owner participation.
The CDS CC Library is also a valuable asset to the co-op community. Access to information is one of the key principles of democracy, and the accumulated knowledge store in the library represents the best thinking on timely themes useful for many kinds of co-ops. “Our commitment is to produce resources so co-ops are stronger,” Goehring said. “And now we’ve refreshed its functionality and design.”