Co-creating MLIS Curriculum for Cultural Competence and Community-Driven Learning: Making Progress for the Future of Libraries
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The University of Washington Information School's Gates Foundation-funded Distinguished Practitioner in Residence (DPIR) program is designed to make a more impactful connection between public libraries and the academy. During her tenure, Susan Hildreth, the inaugural DPIR, set out to develop a framework that would result in MLIS students prepared with the skills required to serve successfully in 21st century libraries and information centers. Using participatory design methods, Hildreth and her project team convened two workshops (first on cultural competence and the second on community-driven learning) to review MLIS curriculum. The workshop aimed to create a platform for the co-design of MLIS curriculum by faculty, library employers, and students. From both workshops, overarching themes emerged: need for community engagement and design thinking/participatory design as foundations in MLIS graduate education and library service planning; meaningful experiential learning to ground theory in practice; using a social justice/racial equity lens; and utilizing the power of the MLIS community to instill change in MLIS education and practice.
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