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Thursday, November 9 • 11:35am - 12:15pm
Professional Prologue: Building a Community of Practice for Assessment and User Experience Librarians

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To meet users’ needs for new resources and services, over the past several years academic libraries have shifted staffing from more “traditional” areas of librarianship to “functional specialist” positions, such as digital data management, copyright, assessment, and e-resources management. [1] Because these newer positions are typically situated in small or even one-person departments, functional specialists can struggle to acquire training and professional development in-house, and may sometimes feel isolated.
A Community of Practice can provide a powerful foundation for academic library functional specialists. As introduced by Etienne Wegner, in a Community of Practice learning and practice are inherently social, and both are reinforced through engagement with other community members. [2] Members of a Community of Practice learn by doing, observing, and interacting with practitioners and other learners as part of a social process that involves “fitting in” as much as learning skills. [3]
In this presentation, we will report on a program designed to introduce twelve Library and Information Science (LIS) Master’s students to the assessment and user experience Community of Practice. Through coursework, co-curricular training, professional and social development, mentoring, and apprenticeship, the students selected for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians (LB21)-funded “Experience Assessment (UX-A)” program are earning the American Library Association-Accredited Master’s degree while gaining specialized expertise in user experience and assessment. We will describe the structure of the program and provide early evidence of success, including the students’ reflections on their experiences, findings that have implications for practice and education in assessment and user experience. Attendees will also learn how to implement aspects of the Community of Practice model in their own institutions.


Dania Bilal

Professor, School of Information Sciences University of Tennessee
avatar for Rachel Fleming-May

Rachel Fleming-May

Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, The University of Tennessee
Rachel Fleming-May is an Associate Professor in the University of Tennessee’s School of Information Sciences. Her research and teaching interests include assessment, academic librarianship, and the intersection of creative writing and information

Regina Mays

Head (Interim), Assessment Programs and Collection Strategy, University of Tennessee Libraries
avatar for Carol Tenopir

Carol Tenopir

Professor, University of Tennessee, School of Information Sciences
A frequent speaker at professional conferences and prolific author, Carol Tenopir is a Chancellor’s Professor at the University of Tennessee. For the last decade she has served on the Leadership Team of the NSF-funded DataONE project, which has brought together librarians, scientists... Read More →
avatar for Teresa Walker

Teresa Walker

Associate Dean, University of Tennessee Libraries, University of Tennessee Libraries
My interests include libraries' contribution to student success, learning space design, liaison programs, and more.

Thursday November 9, 2017 11:35am - 12:15pm EST
Gold Ballroom, Francis Marion Hotel 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401