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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 4.3 B Juried Paper: Listening to a Diverse Community to Create an Inclusive Understanding of Reference & Information Service

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The community of information professionals represents a broad range of identities, abilities, and talents. While they may still be underrepresented in the profession, librarians from diverse groups should still be contributing their perspective to theory development and best practices. To complement existing research in reference and information service (RIS) that focuses on the behavioral aspects of RIS, it is important to conduct research on the practitioner perspective of RIS to identify the thoughts and feelings that motivate these behaviors. Study of the practitioner perspective must include a diverse group of professionals in order to develop an inclusive understanding of RIS for practitioners. However, professionals representing diverse racial/ethnic groups can be difficult to access because they represent a minority of professionals -- making up only 12% of library professionals in the United States (American Library Association, 2012). As such, all of the voices of the diverse community of practitioners are not often heard.


The aims of the study are

  • to understand the experience of RIS for professionals whose voices have not been heard
  • to explore whether and how these professionals’ experience of difference affects their RIS practice

This study specifically focuses on the experience of RIS for librarians of color. Through a qualitative, phenomenological study, the voice of professionals that have not yet contributed to an understanding of RIS will be heard. This study is an effort to reach beyond librarians from the majority group and to create an inclusive understanding of RIS.

avatar for Amy VanScoy

Amy VanScoy

Assistant Professor, University at Buffalo

Thursday January 19, 2017 8:30am - 10:00am EST
Atlanta 2