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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Service Learning in Library and Information Science (LIS) Education: Connecting Research and Practice to Community


This paper documents existing trends in service learning activities practiced in Library and Information Science (LIS) schools across the United States through the findings from two studies. The first study shares highlights from a question-based survey that elicited responses from faculty at a major LIS school in the United States about service learning activities incorporated in the courses they taught during the year 2002. The second study presents key aspects from content analysis of websites of the top 10 ranked LIS schools in the United States. This analysis identifies potential areas where service learning activities can be incorporated or strengthened in LIS education. Based on findings from the two studies, this paper calls for conscious efforts by LIS schools to train future students to engage in participatory action research (PAR) related activities in service learning and to establish a community informatics (CI) track in their master’s programs. Efforts to tie the three constructs in LIS education will help support social equity and empowerment of marginalized populations.

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