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?
As a professor in a library information science program, I pursue community engagement and social responsibility goals in line with my home institution’s mission, that of Chicago State University. For me, this currently entails promoting the teaching of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) history as it has often been overlooked or deliberately ignored in information resources for high school students. A lack of information in this area leads to a serious distortion of the understanding of the contemporary LGBT community. This paper explores how my efforts in LGBT history education lead to goals, which in turn facilitate joint efforts between my university and its academic library, with community and student organizations. These efforts create a space for the creation and use of information sources (some of which are quite unusual), and key library skills.