Magazine article American Libraries

LIS Educators Meet to Further Community Engagement

Magazine article American Libraries

LIS Educators Meet to Further Community Engagement

Article excerpt

More than 400 current and prospective library and information science educators gathered in Philadelphia January 8-11 for the annual conference of the Association for Library and Information Science Education. ALISE President Connie Van Fleet of the University of Oklahoma convened a rich program focusing on the theme "Community Engagement: Integrating Learning, Research, and Practice."

Indeed, engagement reverberated throughout an array of some 60 plenaries, papers, panels, and interest group presentations, with a particular focus on two areas: students and library 2.0 technologies, and faculty and students forming communities through learning, research, and service. In addition, more than 65 candidates interviewed for over 60 positions with 30 employers, mostly ALA-accredited schools

Leave your comfort zone

Following a preconference day in which deans, directors, and program chairs heard the results of research on the future of the LIS profession and distance-educators shared best practices, the conference opened with a keynote by Yvonna S. Lincoln of Texas A & M University's Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development. Well-known for coauthoring The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, Lincoln quietly reminded attendees that "research methods have enormous built-in political and moral dimensions." Referring to research on the digital divide, she stressed that the gap was about much more than technology, and she encouraged listeners to move out of their comfort zone to devote their human resources to new forms of social inclusion.

The second keynoter, Jean J. Schensul, founding director of the Institute for Community Research, expanded on Lincoln's emphasis with a presentation on Community-Based Research (CBR). She said CBR is about "democratizing science" by using both tools and the results of research to generate "community-based knowledge" in order to reduce disparities, "enhance community growth, deepen history, build community. …

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