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?
Volunteer-run libraries in the United Kingdom (UK) represent a situation where the language of ‘community engagement’ is being used, but the meaning of the concept is being subverted. This research provides insight into a situation where government agencies and local municipalities are using the concept of ‘community engagement’ as a cover for reduction of public services.
PhD Candidate, University of Western Ontario, Canada
Claire Burrows is a second year PhD student in the Library and Information Science program at Western University. Her research pertains to the accessibility of academic libraries for students with disabilities, and how theoretical conceptualisations of disability may influence the development of library services.