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Libraries Building Communities

Librarians of all types are active in community building. Provided here are examples of books, articles, reports, and websites that demonstrate a commitment or analysis of collaborative action. As librarians participate in comprehensive community initiatives, keeping in mind the goal of service integration, it is likely that the nation's community building activists will include librarians at the planning stages as well as the front lines.

An Alternative Vision of Librarianship: James Danky and the Sociocultural Politics of Collection Development, by Juris Dilevko (Library Trends, Winter 2008). "The work of James P. Danky, longtime librarian at the Wisconsin Historical Society, is situated within the intellectual context of collection-development practices. Danky's belief in the value of alternative periodicals-and the lengths that he went to identify and acquire them-may be interpreted as a rejection of increasingly mechanical and generic ways to develop library collections. Reliance on centralized selection procedures, approval plans, and serials vendors was not only tantamount to the 'disintegration of librarians as sources of expertise,' but also structurally privileged books and serials from mainstream publishers." Click here to learn more.

Civic Librarianship: Renewing the Social Mission of the Public Library, by Ronald B. McCabe (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2001). "Explores the idea of community renewal and shows how this idea can transform public libraries by offering a renewed sense of purpose and powerful new strategies for development. Reaffirms the traditional public library mission of providing education for a democratic society."

Communities as Necessity in Information Literacy Development: Challenging the Standards, by Benjamin R. Harris (The Journal of Academic Librarianship, April 2008). "Contemporary standards suggest that information literate activity is a solitary process. As a corrective, research and pedagogical theories related to 'learning communities' and 'communities of practice' have become valuable sites of inquiry for librarians. The author provides strategies for making community a topic of instruction." Click here to learn more.

Community, Identity, and Knowledge: A Conceptual Framework for LIS Research, by Afzal Waseem (LIBRES, March 2008). "Communities are a source of identity. Every community has its distinct traditions, values, and norms. Communities provide a wealth of organized and deep rooted knowledge, which builds from countless interactions of various socio-political, socio-economic, and socio-cultural attributes that occur over time. This knowledge becomes the property of that particular community and plays an important role in shaping the identity structures of its members." Click here to learn more.

Community Indicators, Genuine Progress, and the Golden Billion, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook and Kristin Brand. (RUSQ 40, Summer 2001). "Strategies for the inclusion of libraries as key community indicators for quality of life assessment."

The Engaged Library: Chicago Stories of Community Building, by the Urban Libraries Council. "The Urban Libraries Council (ULC), with support from the Chicago Community Trust and Chicago Public Library Foundation, commissioned researchers in the Asset- Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University to see how Chicago Public Library branches help build community. The report, The Engaged Library: Chicago Stories of Community Building, uncovers 'webs of connections and successful strategies for building social networks.'" Click here to learn more.

Guidelines for Establishing Community Information and Referral Services in Public Libraries (4th ed.), by Norman L. Maas and Dick Manikowski (Chicago: American Library Association, Public Library Association, 1997). "Classic criteria for librarians providing information and referral services."

How to Make Your Library Great. "To succeed today, libraries must master many different roles--some traditionally associated with libraries, some not. Their new, multi-faceted missions must be supported with great design, strong amenities, and popular programs. That's a lot to juggle, but when everything works together, libraries become places that anchor community life and bring people together. To help libraries fulfill their potential as neighborhood institutions, PPS offers 14 strategies as a roadmap to success." Click here to learn more.

Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty Taskforce. "In 1996, members of the Social Responsibilities Round Table formed the Hunger, Homelessness & Poverty Task Force to promote and implement Policy 61 and to raise awareness of poverty issues. This site provides many resources and links to help those in need." Click here to learn more.

If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything. "Aimed to assist Indian communities with increasing literacy skills, while preserving Native American identity through a transferable model. Contact is Dr. Loriene Roy, Professor, University of Texas at Austin." Click here to learn more.

Information Technologies and Civic Engagement: Perspectives from Librarianship and Planning, by Aime C. Quinn and Laxmi Ramasubramanian (Government Information Quarterly, vol. 24 no. 3, p. 595-610, Jan. 2007). "Draws parallels between urban planning and librarianship in community bulding."

LIS Students Partner with Local Community Agencies in User-Centered Assessment and Evaluation of Public Library Services for a course IS 554 (Public Library Management and Sevices): Taught by Bharat Mehra in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Tenneessee. "The course website represents detailed activities in students' semester-long class projects as they navigated their process of developing user-centered assessment and evaluation of select public library services." Click here to learn more.

Librarians and Comprehensive Community Initiatives, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook (RUSQ 40, Fall, 2000). "Community building collaborations provide an opportunity for librarians to demonstrate the contributions we can make to revitalize neighborhoods."

Libraries & Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty, ed. by Nancy Kranich (Chicago: ALA Editions, 2001). "Insights on the role libraries play in advancing democracy by scholars from many aspects of the profession."

Libraries Build Communities, by Chrystie R. Hill and Steven M. Cohen. "Hill and Cohen are using their blog to help support their research for a new book about libraries and community building. The book is due for publication in the fall of 2008 and is tentatively titled, 'Inside, Outside, and Online.'" Click here to learn more.

Libraries Build Community. "Sarah Ann Long, director of the North Suburban Library System (NSLS) in Wheeling, Ill., was president of the American Library Association in 1999-2000. Long selected the theme 'Libraries Build Community' for her presidency with a focus on library-community partnerships." Click here for up-to-date information on Sarah Ann Long and her work.

Make the Connection: Celebrating Language Diversity to Improve Achievement, by Gail Dickinson and Kaavonia Hinton (Library Media Connection, April/May 2008). "Celebrate Language Diversity to improve student achievement and to provide books in English Language Learners' native languages. Research indicates that extensive reading of materials written for ELL students promotes literacy development in the target language and that students are more motivated to read materials when they see their culture affirmed and reflected in the pages of the book."

Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development, by the Urban Libraries Council. "The rules of engagement in economic development are changing. More and more, economic development success strategies involve people, technology, and growing an infrastructure for economic activity built on ideas, knowledge, experience, and quality of life." Click here to learn more.

The Paseo Boricua Community Library Project and its Community Inquiry Lab "support the work of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Chicago's Humboldt Park area, a thirty-year old institution that galvanizes neighborhood residents around critical issues such as gang violence, AIDS, social and environmental justice, literacy, public health, and economic development." Click here to learn more.

A Place at the Table: Participating in Community Building, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook (Chicago: American Library Association Editions, 2000). "Discussion of comprehensive community collaboration, service integration and the national movement on building community. Calls for librarians to be at the community planning and development table." Click here to learn more.

Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian, by A. Lewis (Duluth: Library Juice Press, 2008). "Questioning Library Neutrality: Essays from Progressive Librarian presents essays that relate to neutrality in librarianship in a philosophical or practical sense, and sometimes both. They are a selection of essays originally published in Progressive Librarian, the journal of the Progressive Librarians Guild, presented in the chronological order of their appearance there. These essays, some by academics and some by passionate practitioners, offer a set of critiques of the notion of neutrality as it governs professional activity, focusing on the importance of meaningful engagement in the social sphere."

Service Integration and Libraries: Will 2-1-1 be the Catalyst for Renewal?, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook - (RUSQ 40, Winter, 2000). "The 24/7 information and referral (I & R) service using 2-1-1 will be configured differently in each community. Libraries should connect with local 2-1-1 providers to develop robust community information. Brief history of the I & R movement and libraries is provided."

Service Learning in Library and Information Science (LIS) Education: Connecting Research and Practice to Community, by Bharat Mehra (InterActions: UCLA Journal of Information and Education Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1, Article 3, 2004). "This paper documents existing trends in service learning activities practiced in Library and Information Science (LIS) schools across the United States and identifies potential areas where service learning activities with a strong community focus can be incorporated or strengthened in LIS education." Click here to learn more.

Welcome, Stranger: Public Libraries Build The Global Village, by the Urban Libraries Council. "No phenomenon reshaping the world today is more dramatic or far-reaching than the massive migration of people from their ancestral homelands to new locations, seeking opportunity and safety. The effects of this movement are felt everywhere. In March 2007, ULC conducted a survey of its members, gathering data on the ways in which urban public libraries are involved with the transition of immigrants into American life. The findings of the survey show that urban public libraries are in the forefront of the effort to make their cities stronger by welcoming and integrating new residents from all over the world." Click here to learn more.

Updated 05.22.08 - Please e-mail all comments to Kathleen de la Peña McCook at kmccook@tampabay.rr.com.

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