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Rural Librarians as Change Agents in the Twenty-First Century: Applying Community Informatics in the Southern and Central Appalachian Region to Further ICT Literacy Training

Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities

ISBN: 978-1-78743-112-6, eISBN: 978-1-78743-111-9

ISSN: 0065-2830

Publication date: 10 November 2017

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter discusses the application of community informatics (CI) principles in the rural Southern and Central Appalachian (SCA) region to further the teaching of information and communication technologies (ICT) literacy concepts in courses that formed part of two externally funded grants, “Information Technology Rural Librarian Master’s Scholarship Program Part I” (ITRL) and “Part II” (ITRL2), awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program to the School of Information Sciences (SIS) at the University of Tennessee (UT).

Design/Methodology/Approach

The chapter documents ICT use in ITRL and ITRL2 to extend librarian technology literacy training, allowing these public information providers to become change agents in the twenty-first century. It discusses aspects of CI that influenced these two projects and shaped the training of future rural library leaders embedded in traditionally underrepresented areas to further social justice and progressive changes in the region’s rural communities.

Findings

The chapter demonstrates the role that CI principles played in the context of ITRL and ITRL2 from project inception to the graduation of the rural librarians with examples of tangible IT services/products that the students developed in their courses that were directly applicable and tailored to their SCA contexts.

Originality/Value

ITRL and ITRL2 provided a unique opportunity to apply a CI approach to train information librarians as agents of change in the SCA regions to further economic and cultural development via technology and management competencies. These change agents will continue to play a significant role in community building and community development efforts in the future.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments

We are thankful to IMLS for awarding us the two grants that funded the projects discussed in this chapter.

Citation

Mehra, B., Singh, V., Hollenbach, N. and Partee, R.P. (2017), "Rural Librarians as Change Agents in the Twenty-First Century: Applying Community Informatics in the Southern and Central Appalachian Region to Further ICT Literacy Training", Real, B. (Ed.) Rural and Small Public Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities (Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 43), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 123-153. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0065-283020170000043006

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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