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?
Media Smart Libraries brings together the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS) in partnership with the Providence Children's Film Festival and the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services on a two-year, IMLS-funded project designed to advance the digital and media literacy competencies of children, teens, and families in our communities. Through public programs, continuing education workshops, and curriculum revision, the MSL team is working with Rhode Island school and public libraries, nonprofits, state library agencies, and library experts across the country to improve digital literacy across Rhode Island. This IMLS-funded project includes curriculum revision, public programs, continuing education workshops, and a digital badging system, all of which thrive on active partnerships with the Rhode Island library and nonprofit communities to manage and create change in the area of digital media literacies. This paper will focus on the curricular efforts stemming from the grant, both for the MLIS degree program at GSLIS and for our professional development programs.