Forthcoming Book Based on Inaugural Extending our Reach Colloquium

(Moderator note: this post was written by Jennifer Nutefall, University Librarian, Santa Clara University)

As many of you know, Santa Clara University hosted Extending Our Reach: The Inaugural Colloquium on Libraries & Service Learning (CLSL) this past August. If you weren’t able to attend – or even if you did – I’m pleased to let you know that a book is currently in the works. With Libraries Unlimited, I am editing a book tentatively titled “Service Learning, Information Literacy, and Libraries.” Three of the chapters will be adapted from presentations at CLSL. Those include Maureen Barry writing on meaningful reflection activities, Megan Stark on bridging academic and community information through service learning, and Deborah Halperin, Matt LaLonde, and Karen Schmidt on service learning projects, community and the library.

Other chapters will focus on the pedagogical connections between service learning and information literacy, sample projects from the University of British Columbia and George Washington University, ways librarians can engage the broader community, and future directions for librarian involvement in service learning.

I’m so pleased at this opportunity to continue to spread the word on libraries and service learning. The completed manuscript is due to be submitted this October with a tentative spring 2016 publication date.

Check back here for updates as I get closer to the submission deadline!

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Challenge Scholars Update

(Moderator note: This post is part 2 of a series about the Challenge Scholars program in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It is written by Guest Contributor Gayle Schaub, Liaison Librarian in Liberal Arts, Grand Valley State University.)

Last September, my colleagues and I began partnering with a local public school to help sixth-graders learn to do research, in an effort to strengthen the critical thinking skills of 6th grade Challenge Scholars and to help build a college-going culture among students and families at an underperforming middle school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I wrote about the Challenge Scholars information literacy workshops back in June, before we had actually gotten underway. We have an entire semester under our belts now and I’m writing this update to let you know that our first series of classes were everything we’d hoped they’d be, and more. We learned so much about so many things, some of which have very little to do with librarianship. We’ve just begun our second semester. We’re still learning, of course, but here is a progress update.

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Academic Service-Learning and the Archives

(Moderator note: This post was written by Laura Jacobs, Interim Library Director of the Jim Dan Hill Library, University of Wisconsin – Superior.)

UW-Superior is a small, public liberal arts institution, one of 12 comprehensive colleges that make up the University of Wisconsin System. As part of our vision, we strive to “be known as an institution that transforms learners, engages the community, and enhances the vitality of its region.” (Strategic Plan 20/20) As part of our strategic plan, the university has initiated a number of high-impact practices, including Academic Service-Learning. During the past five years, faculty and instructional staff were encouraged to explore and incorporate these practices into their courses. While this is an admirable goal, the library had been left on the fringes, especially with Academic Service-Learning. This was particularly problematic from the library’s perspective, since most projects require the development of background knowledge coupled with application at a local level, employing complex library skills such as locating and analyzing community demographic data in order to create materials for a local non-profit organization; or reaching beyond a cursory search of the Web in order to form a model of a bustling city as it appeared at the turn of the 20th century.

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Challenge Scholars

(Moderator note:  This post is written by guest contributor, Gayle Schaub, and is the first part in a series about her service-learning project).

This fall two academic librarians and a college professor embark on a brand new initiative in Grand Rapids, Michigan to improve a community by building academic success in a neighborhood. My name is Gayle, and I am one of the librarians. My idea was to teach 6th graders the information literacy skills they’ll need to be ready for college, and I knew I couldn’t do this alone. This is the first part of our story.

Challenge Scholars: The background

Students in the public schools on the West side of Grand Rapids, Michigan face a number of challenges to their educational success. Only 2% of high school juniors are college-ready, according to standardized test scores. 92% of the students come from economically disadvantaged households, but even with a way to finance higher education, without a college-going culture or the readiness to perform, a college education is out of reach for most. Challenge Scholars is a program developed and funded through the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. It promises scholarships for students attending the city’s West side public schools and will provide the support needed to insure academic success through the coordinated efforts and partnerships of local school systems, businesses, non-profits, and institutions of higher ed. By investing now in Grand Rapids’ children, everyone involved in Challenge Scholars is helping to build a better-educated and stronger workforce for the future.

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Registration Open for CLSL2014

Registration has officially opened for Extending our Reach: The Inaugural Colloquium on Libraries and Service-Learning at Santa Clara University.   Space is limited, so register today!

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Clemson Collaborations in Service-Learning Webcast Series

I received an email this morning about this webcast about MOOCs (massive open online courses) and service-learning.  I’m eager to learn more about this.

See this web site for more information about the webcast.



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New Directions for IL & Collection Development

(Moderator Note:  This post was written by Megan Stark, Undergraduate Services and Outreach Librarian, University of Montana, a guest contributor to SLL).

Recently I had the opportunity to spend a day with service-learning instructors from around the state.  It was amazing to devote myself, for an entire day, to thinking about and discussing service-learning with colleagues from different disciplines, perspectives and institutions.  As a profession, we should try to do this more often because these opportunities for cross-pollination can be rich and very fruitful.

I was reminded that, for students, service-learning is a powerful way to connect to the community and future careers. Understanding the unique information landscapes affecting particular professions provides the ability to move with increased sophistication around important issues. And I was reminded that, for instructors, service-learning is a powerful call to us to consider our community stakeholders. Understanding that our instruction and collections should reflect the unique information landscapes affecting our society provides us the ability to better teach and prepare our students for life after college.

So what does this mean for librarians? Certainly we can participate in service- learning by teaching our credit-bearing courses according to a service-learning model. Christopher Sweet (2012), among others, have provided wonderful examples at conferences and in the literature. But many of us are working, at least in some part, in a one-shot or more traditional liaison model that might make a move to credit instruction difficult. What does it look like to think about service-learning a bit more broadly for libraries?

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