Helping Iowa communities cooperate to find solutions to local issues is the goal of a new publication from Iowa State University Extension.

Lois Wright Morton, ISU Extension sociologist, said collaborations and partnerships are the new buzz words in community problem solving.

"The renewed focus on local decision making has engaged citizens and community groups to share information and work together to plan joint actions to resolve housing, child care, health, transportation, education and a myriad of other community issues," she noted.

Many of these partnerships are effective, dynamic groups that get things done in the community, according to Morton. Others are time wasters that frustrate collaborative members in search of solutions.

A new Extension publication, Purposeful Partnerships in the Community Interest, helps individuals and groups evaluate their partnerships. Communities can use it to develop beneficial partnerships that offer satisfying experiences for all involved, Morton said. It includes a diagnostic tool to assist partnerships in examining the processes of their group.

Single copies of the publication are available free from county Extension offices and from the Extension Distribution Center, 119 Printing and Publications Building, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-3171, telephone: 515-294-5247, fax: 515-294-2945, e-mail: Ask for publication PM 1844. The publication also can be downloaded from the Extension web site at

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