“To connect, you have to listen”
Bringing real-world social justice experiences into LIS education
Keywords:soft skills, field-based experiences, cultural competency, reflexivity, communication
Library and information science (LIS) scholarship has increasingly become aware of disconnects between the traditional curriculum and real-world soft skills employers value in future public library professionals, particularly in regards to being able to engage with underserved communities. To address this gap, MLIS students at two iSchools participated in a field-based social justice assignment that required them to identify an underserved community group they wanted to learn more about, and then collaborate with and interview a member of the group or a community organization that was working with the group. Students completed a written reflection about the experience that the researchers analyzed to understand how a field-based social justice assignment can foster soft skill development for LIS students. Findings indicate that the field-based assignment supported students’ development of three soft skills important for both LIS careers and social justice work: cultural competency, communication, and reflexivity.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Jacqueline Kociubuk, Kathleen Campana, Michelle Martin, J. Elizabeth Mills
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