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Libraries are uniquely positioned to support academic institutions that seek to reflect community values and respond to issues of diversity and inclusion. The transformation in higher education is occurring through the incorporation of high impact educational practices and libraries are ideally placed to play a key role in this transformation. High impact education practices increase student retention and engaged and include practices such as learning communities, first-year seminars, internships, and service learning. Service learning integrates credit-based educational experiences with service in the community, and provides students space to reflect on what they have learned. By integrating librarians and information resources into service learning courses, we have the opportunity to provide students with a holistic picture of community needs, demographics, resources, and services. One study on the integration of librarians and service learning found that students were more motivated to search for information, they searched a wider variety of sources, and they were more confident in approaching and limiting their topics. The integration of service learning and libraries is innovative not just for librarians but also for practitioners of service learning. Service learning provides libraries the opportunity to integrate innovative programs by providing real world application of information skills, supporting higher order thinking, and critical information literacy. Integrating information literacy, library resources, and library collections as sites of impact based on community needs supports innovation within the field and practice of service learning itself. While the focus of this presentation is on academic libraries, it is also of interest to public libraries that are looking for innovative new partnerships.


Presented at the conference - Re-Think It: Libraries for a New Age on January 10, 2018



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