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?
What role can library and information science (LIS) education play in economic development and support small businesses while engaging with them in a specific regional community and cultural setting? This paper explores answers to the question by focusing on Tennessee and investigating how LIS educators can extend their social responsibility to the state’s small businesses and rural public libraries. Potential directions discussed within a research and grant context include curriculum design, classroom integration of appropriate small business information content areas based on the needs of small businesses and rural public libraries, and the training of rural library and information professionals to further small business service delivery and resource development. The paper also shares insights during the process of conceptual model development to toolkit blueprint design in action research for LIS educators to further community engagement between small businesses and rural public libraries in Tennessee. It is based on experiences during a planning grant entitled “The Role of Rural Public Libraries in Small Business Economic Development in the Appalachian Region: A Case Study of Tennessee” (PLSB-TN) that was recently awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ National Leadership Grants for Libraries (Research Category) (October 2014 – September 2016) to the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tennessee (URL: http://scholar.cci.utk.edu/plsb-tn). PLSB-TN is serving as a pilot case study and assessment test-bed to expand strategies for the entire Appalachian region and other rural environments in the future.
Dr. Mehra's research examines diversity and intercultural communication, social justice in library and information science (LIS), critical and cross-cultural studies, and community informatics or the use of information and communication technologies to empower minority and underserved populations. He has applied action research towards community building and community development activities while collaborating with racial/ethnic groups... Read More →
Thursday January 19, 2017 10:30am - 12:00pm