Outcome 5: Reference and User Services

Graduates of the SLIM Master of Library Science degree program will be able to retrieve, evaluate, and synthesize information resources to fulfill an information needs assessment; evaluate the usefulness of these resources to the user.

Artifact: Service Proposal & Online Resource Page – Library Services for Homeless Youth
Link to Service Proposal
Link to Resource Page
MLS Outcomes: 1, 5, 6, 8
MLS Values: 1, 2, 3
LI 833: Resource and Services for Diverse Populations focused in on tailoring collections and services to specific communities of users, particularly those that could be categorized as “underserved.” We learned to identify salient characteristics of specific populations, as well as their information needs and possible use (or non-use) of such resources, and we analyzed issues and constraints regarding information use by these populations in order to enact changes to increase the usefulness and relevance of library resources to patrons. We drew on several theories of seeing and defining diversity in order to build a personal definition of it, with the goal of creating an individual approach to serving communities of varying backgrounds and cultures. These theories included The Library as Place (Rothbauer, 2007), which looks at the concept of space as a “container of social relations and events” that seeks to “predict human patterns of behavior within mapped locales and regions” (p. 101); as well as the work of De la Pena McCook (2000), who outlined the problem of serving diversity as being how narrowly or widely to define it; and LaFlamme (2007), who suggested including ethnographic principles from anthropology in an approach to community needs analysis.

For this class, I created a service proposal for an underserved population in Portland, Oregon: homeless teens who are attempting to graduate from high school. After interviewing an outreach librarian with Multnomah County Libraries in Portland, and building on works like Holt and Holt’s Public Library Services for the Poor (2010), Denise Agosto’s work with the Lubuto Library Project in Zambia (2008), Ruby Payne’s A Framework for Understanding Poverty (1996), and the documented outreach work of the King Library in San Jose (2009), I outlined an idea for a service exchange between Multnomah County Library and two organizations: Outside In, and New Avenues for Youth. In addition, I created an online resource page that functioned as a combined bibliography and resource aggregation site for use by librarians, social workers, and anyone interested in this topic. I proved in so doing that I can design and tailor services to overcome barriers to information access. I was able at the end to evaluate and synthesize information about this population based on that information assessment, evaluate the current state of service, and propose a new course of service based on that evaluation.

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