Librarians and Comprehensive Community Initiatives

By McCook, Kathleen de la Pena | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Fall 2000 | Go to article overview

Librarians and Comprehensive Community Initiatives


McCook, Kathleen de la Pena, Reference & User Services Quarterly


Current National Movements that Should Involve Librarians

The "shadow" conventions held during August 2000 at the sites of the Democratic and Republican conventions elevated and invigorated public discourse on the issues of poverty and wealth inequality.[1] The ongoing work of one of the shadow convention sponsors, the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support (NCJIS), provides an opportunity for community-building librarians to join with organizations that represent poor, working class, and middle-class people of all colors in urban, suburban, and rural areas.[2]

Reviewing the work of the NCJIS leads to its parent organization, the Center for Community Change (CCC), which has worked for thirty years to reduce poverty and rebuild low-income communities by helping people develop the skills and resources they need to rebuild their communities as well as to change policies and institutions that adversely affect their lives.[3] Yet the Web site of the CCC has no mention of librarians or recognition that the work librarians do could be of critical assistance in achieving community goals. Reading the documentation of these national initiatives with a librarian's eye, it is impossible not to take note of the many problems identified, for which the skills and expertise of a librarian might well be part of the solution.

A Place at the Table

In the recent book, A Place at the Table: Participating in Community Building, the absence of librarians in the literature of community building is explored.[4] While the book's focus is on the lack of inclusion of public libraries in this literature, the same lack of inclusion, in general, characterizes the work of academic librarians in the service learning and engaged university movements in higher education. It is not because librarians in their daily work are not part of community-building efforts, but because their daily work is not always viewed as part of the planning that contributes to the development of comprehensive community initiatives, whether in cities, towns, or on campuses.

Today the call for community building and civic renewal resounds in the literature of the policy sciences, higher education, and the popular press.[5] Civic renewal is the movement calling for citizens to participate in the local efforts that build community. In a city this might mean involvement in initiatives such as community development corporations; on a campus this might mean involvement in initiatives such those to create a campus environment of engagement.

Public librarians, as citizens of the community in which they work, and academic librarians, as citizens of the campus at which they work, need to participate in community initiatives and planning. By participating at the outset in planning and visioning, librarians will be at the table and in a position to identify opportunities for the library and its services to provide solutions to community and campus challenges. This is not a simple task.

For the public librarian who has identified serving adult new readers as important in a community of new Americans or an area in which there is a disproportionate high school dropout rate, there are likely already extant literacy providers, adult basic education programs, or English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Becoming a part of the planning committee for these initiatives might mean having to commit to a year or more of several meetings a month. The library may not be on the agenda. To ensure that the library becomes part of these initiatives, trust must be earned and the librarian must be included as an active partner--even if the library is not initially accepted as one part of the solution.

For a university or community college librarian, there may be campus movements that have not included the library. One example is a group of faculty sending out a survey to collect video and oral histories undertaken by various departments as part of the celebration of the local community's 150th anniversary. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Librarians and Comprehensive Community Initiatives
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.