Communities of practice in the university library

CHICAGO — How can academic librarians strengthen their teaching practice and provide education through access to information, using intentional efforts to learn and share in a social context? Building and fostering Communities of Practice (CoP) is the ideal path, as Michelle Reale demonstrates in her new book “Communities of Practice in the Academic Library: Strategies for Implementation», published by ALA Editions. Thanks to his advice, readers will be able to:

  • understand how coming together in the pursuit of common knowledge and goals can lead to a more fulfilling work environment and better professional results;
  • get guidance on how to get started with simple, laid-back collaborative efforts that won’t conflict with busy schedules;
  • learn from Reale’s personal stories of how the CoP took root in its own institution and how it continued to thrive during the shutdowns necessitated by the pandemic;
  • receive a flexible CoP framework for implementation that can be adapted to meet their own needs and goals;
  • see how to nurture conversation, participation, collaborative inquiry and mindfulness, all essential ingredients of the CoP;
  • feel comfortable using personal stories as tools for creating meaning within the CoP as well as ongoing individual learning and growth; and
  • be encouraged to follow through and stick to it, using the reflection questions and activities at the end of each chapter.

Reale is a professor at Arcadia University. His other books include “Meeting the Challenge of Teaching Information Literacy,” “The essential university librarian: teaching and collaborating for change,” “Supervision and management of students of the university library,” and “Becoming a Reflective Librarian and Teacher: Strategies for Mindful Academic Practice.”

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