Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries

LibGuides as outreach – Penn State

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I was just looking over the Penn State Library’s LibGuide on the “Sandusky scandal”. It’s a fantastic example of how libraries can curate current event sources for researchers, and I’m so glad to see the trend is catching on (I initiated libguides of this kind when I was the Learning Commons librarian at UIUC. I always love to learn about other current event libguides). It’s a way libraries can be supremely helpful to early researchers, and help students learn about events in their life.

I can only imagine the challenges around putting together a guide like this on a campus undergoing the trauma Penn State is currently dealing with. It maintains a complete neutrality and evenhandedness, just collecting the sources.Emily Rimland did a fantastic job.

I keep struggling with my impulse to add a tab for library resources, for context for the topics of pedophilia, football politics, ethical conundrums*, and abuse of power. I can’t decide if their inclusion would be of even greater assistance to young researchers grappling with the story? Or would including the context, and thus explicitly naming the issues, politicize the guide? I like that current events guides can put the library in the path of a student’s curiosity, bridging news to subscribed content. But I’ve never taken on the creation of a guide like this in fraught times (I’ll admit I ducked creating one when the UIUC high level administration was felled one by one by the admissions scandal.)

I’ll add Emily to my list of brave librarians. And keep this guide bookmarked as a great example of a library resource as outreach.

* for lack of a better phrase. I’m thinking here about the psychological phenomena around making difficult decisions, and knowing what ‘the right thing’ is in any given situation.

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