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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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Thursday, January 19 • 8:30am - 10:00am
Session 4.4 Juried Panel: Makerspaces in Libraries: Creating Change through Active Partnerships with Communities

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This panel will discuss how libraries promote active community engagement through Makerspaces. A Makerspace is a place for community members to engage in creative making activities in a range of domains, offering access to fabrication technologies and social opportunities with other Makers. Community engagement is the key to success. Several library Makerspaces are currently practicing innovative approaches to engaging their communities. However, there seems to be a lack of consensus regarding what social responsibilities library Makerspaces must assume in today’s society. The panel proposes the following overarching questions:

  • What social responsibilities do Makerspaces in a library have to their community?
  • What are some of the effective ways Makerspaces currently practice to engage community?
  • What should LIS educators and researchers do to promote community engagement and social responsibility in and through library Makerspaces?



The five research projects featured in this panel answer these questions, presenting innovative approaches to community engagement. The presentations will explore how Makerspaces meet the needs of community members regardless of location through mobile Makerspaces, methods for reaching out and supporting underserved populations, including court-involved teens, as well as the development of young people’s social responsibilities and critical technical practices. The panel also includes suggestions for LIS researchers and educators regarding a research approach to engaging communities and competencies for Makerspace professionals that must be cultivated in LIS higher education.

The panel will begin with a brief introduction connecting practices in Makerspaces to this year’s conference theme (5 minutes). A presentation on each project will follow (10 minutes per project). During the final 35 minutes the presenters will engage with the audience, opening the floor to questions and discussions about the implications for LIS educators and researchers.


June Abbas

University of Oklahoma
avatar for Leanne Bowler

Leanne Bowler

Associate Professor, University of PIttsburgh
Leanne Bowler is an Associate Professor, Director of the Sara Fine Institute for Interpersonal Behavior and Technology at the School of Computing and Information, and Co-Chair of the Department of Information Culture and Data Stewardship at the University of Pittsburgh. Her teaching... Read More →
avatar for Kyungwon Koh

Kyungwon Koh

Assistant Professor, The University of Oklahoma
avatar for Heather Moorefield-Lang

Heather Moorefield-Lang

Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina
Heather is an assistant professor for the School of Library and Information Science at The University of South Carolina. She is the former chair of the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee. The focus of her research is in technology in libraries and schools with... Read More →
avatar for Rebekah Willett

Rebekah Willett

Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
I currently teach courses on young adult literature, multicultural literature for children and young adults, pedagogy, informational divides, and online participatory cultures. I have conducted research on children’s media cultures, focusing on issues of gender, play, literacy... Read More →

Thursday January 19, 2017 8:30am - 10:00am EST
Atlanta 3