LIS 490 CEL: Community Engagement

Community engagement refers to the multiple ways that information professionals in libraries and other settings learn about, collaborate with, and provide service and outreach to community members. Typical activities include performing community needs assessments, involving local residents in museum decision-making, offering computer training for seniors at local community centers, partnering with schools on literacy programs, bookmobiles, teen reading clubs, citizen science, using library facilities for local issue forums and art exhibits, homework help programs, and collecting and archiving local history data.

The course provides an introduction to, and overview of, community engagement theory and practice. A significant portion of coursework will take the form of service learning or community-based research via approved projects that match students’ interests. Course participants will have the opportunity to join ongoing community engagement projects that are led by GSLIS faculty and community partners.

Class discussions will rely upon readings in the Community inquiry bibliography. We will examine Foundations of Community Engagement, Civic Renewal Movements, and Tools for Understanding and Engaging Communities.

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