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Owing to the scope and pace of change, society has become increasingly knowledge-based so that higher learning and research now act as essential components of cultural, socio-economic and environmentally sustainable development of individuals, communities and nations. In this environment, it is essential that higher learning and knowledge creation involve effective partnerships among academic and non-academic learning institutions and communities to create and apply learning and knowledge with stakeholders that are managing and creating sustainable development initiatives. Growing concern regarding the importance of the contribution that higher education institutions make to society has aroused increasing debate about their relevance and credibility amid escalating social problems. An underlying premise of community engagement is the understanding that not all knowledge and expertise resides in the academy, and that both expertise and great learning opportunities in teaching and scholarship also reside in non-academic settings.

This conference will explore how LIS educators and researchers can develop curricula, programs, and research activities that enable active partnerships with communities and civil society to manage and create change. How can LIS programs increase opportunities for experiential, service oriented, and community engaged student learning? How can we develop further collaboration between LIS programs and their larger communities (local, regional/ state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity?

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Wednesday, January 18 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Session 3.5 Juried Panel: Essential Partners in Community Engagement and Social Responsibility: Causal Relationships between Librarians’ Best Practices, Student Learning, and Improvement Science

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Panel Proposal 

Congruence with Conference Theme

School librarians are learning community partners with significant social responsibility to improve students’ future preparedness—and to provide evidence of that impact. In support of the ALISE conference theme’s contention that “…higher learning and research now act as essential components of cultural, socio-economic and environmentally sustainable development of individuals, communities and nations,” the proposed panel will explore documenting the nature and extent of school librarians’ contributions to student outcomes. Panel content will be relevant to many information professionals’ preparation and practice. 

Relevance to Current and Emerging Issues in LIS Education

Recently ACRL published a report of academic librarians’ efforts to build evidence for positive connections between library services and student success[1]. Researchers found that student outcomes improved with library instructional services, library research consultation, library instruction, and library space use.

ACRL’s focus on assessing student engagement suggests that LIS concerned with providing evidence that professionally prepared librarians have a causal impact on student success and that there is ample opportunity to examine similar phenomena in other library contexts.

School library researchers have already been working in this space. In 2014, IMLS supported a convening of 50 school library and related researchers for Causality: School Libraries and Student Success (CLASS), a national forum on causal research in school libraries. A panel of reputed researchers, anchored by Thomas Cook, an eminent scholar in causal research design, led the forum. Forum discussions culminated in a white paper[2] that outlines an ambitious ten-year agenda to move from exploratory to causal research that reflects the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Education’s Common Guidelines (2013).[3] The agenda’s ultimate goal is to determine causal relationships between effective school librarians’ work and student learning.

The CLASS project led to CLASS II, a current IMLS research project in which teams of researchers from FSU, ODU, and the UNT are executing the white paper. In Phase One’s first stage, the research teams are conducting a mixed research synthesis (MRS)[4] of research on causal relationships between student learning and learning activities that occur within and beyond school. The research outcomes will influence LIS curriculum content and contribute to the knowledge base relating to librarian effectiveness.


Lenese Colson

Florida State University, United States of America
avatar for Sue Kimmel

Sue Kimmel

Professor, Old Dominion University
Ask me about Old Dominion University's Master of Library and Information Studies.
avatar for Barbara Schultz-Jones

Barbara Schultz-Jones

Associate Professor, University of North Texas Information Sciences Department
I'm interested in school libraries worldwide. My research and interest in learning environments led me to membership in the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) and past-Chair of the School Library Section of the International Federation of Library Associations... Read More →
avatar for Lois Wine

Lois Wine

Doctoral Student, Old Dominion University, United States of America
I am pursuing a PhD in Curriculum & Instruction with a School Library cognate. My research interests are collaboration and information literacy.

Wednesday January 18, 2017 4:00pm - 5:30pm EST
Atlanta 4