INF 7830: Community Engagement

Credits: 3

Prerequisite(s): None

Offered every other Winter semester (rotates with INF 7835 – Community Archives)

Course description

Community engagement in the context of LIS refers to the ways that information professionals in libraries, archives, and museums (for the purposes of this course called, public information institutions) learn about, collaborate with, and provide service and outreach to community members. Public information institutions and libraries in particular have historically enjoyed a high degree of public trust and respect. Today, librarians and information professionals in these settings are building on that trust and working to support, invigorate, and sustain the communities they serve by collaborating with members of those communities.

Course objectives

  1. The breadth of community engagement work at public information institutions.
  2. Theories and practice of community engagement
  3. Resources and tools for understanding and engaging communities
  4. Social justice, public information institutions, and community building
  5. Historical content and controversies in the field
  6. Infrastructure, sustainability, and funding

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Understand how community engagement work fits with the mission of public information institutions - these include libraries, archives, and museums.
  • Evaluate the roles and responsibilities of librarians and other public information professionals and their work with community members and organizations.
  • Develop skills to identify resources that will help them stay current on issues related to community engagement in and by public information institutions by learning how to identify and access relevant literature and resources to build their professional knowledge.
  • Develop cultural competency awareness, knowledge, and skills.
  • Study and discuss how communities and community organizations work.
  • Develop an understanding of how they can be change agents through collaborations with communities.
  • Learn how to identify and secure support and funding for community engagement work.

Course methodology

Course format and method may include some or all: Lectures, readings, class discussions, paper and proposal writing, oral presentations and guest speaker(s)

Bases for evaluation of student performance

  1. Course participation
  2. Weekly discussion posts
  3. Case study essay
  4. Research paper and peer review