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The Library-Community Convergence Framework for Community Action: Libraries as Catalysts of Social Change

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Libri: International Journal of Libraries and Information Services, Volume 57, Issue 3 (2007)


Intercultural, Library Science, Library-Community Convergence Framework


<em><p>&#160; </p><p> This paper presents a library-community convergence framework (LCCF) to extend the role of all libraries to participate more fully in community action and enhance their function as proactive catalysts of social change, as compared to a sometimes perceived role of bystanders. Although the paper highlights deliberations about the involvement of public libraries in their local communities, and shares experiences of community interactions between library and information professionals and minority and underserved groups in American academic library settings, yet the proposed framework of convergence between the library-community and the methods/ approaches of community action are applicable across a variety of library contexts. The paper discusses select application of the LCCF for community action in two qualitative research studies, with local immigrant communities and sexual minorities, that use methods pioneered in ethnographic outreach and participatory action research (PAR) respectively. The results of these studies show that the LCCF is applicable in the development of various forms of services in different library environments. Ethnographic methods in the first study provide understanding of cross-cultural issues and uncover how local immigrant classifications can be induced from an ethnographic perspective to generate library classifications and information services that are locally relevant and participant- empowering. PAR ideologies in the second study underlie implementation of library and information interventions and community action while partnering with local sexual minorities and their allies, to address specific and contextualized community facets in ways that may promote communitywide social changes. Points of intersection from the two studies help identify key elements in the LCCF framework that can extend the role of all kinds of libraries as leaders and cultural planners of progressive community-based action. </p></em>