Faculty News
July 22, 2015
iSchool Faculty Members Collaborate to Explore International Perspectives on Library and Information Science

Ten San José State University (SJSU) School of Information (iSchool) faculty members recently collaborated on an article covering the trends, technologies, and global environment of the field of information science that has been published in the current issue of the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science (JELIS), the official publication of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE).

The article, titled “International Perspectives on LIS: Global Education, Research, and Collaboration at the SJSU School of Information” and authored by iSchool Director Dr. Sandra Hirsh and faculty members Dr. Paul Christensen, Dr. Cheryl Stenstrom, Dr. Anthony Bernier, Jane FisherDr. Chris Hagar, Debbie Faires, Dr. Sue Alman, Melanie Sellar, and former faculty member Dr. Michelle Holschuh Simmons, is freely available for download.

The article describes the dynamic curricula, research, and collaborative projects currently being done by iSchool faculty members specifically for graduate students studying library and information science and also for information professionals more generally. The international projects, curricula, and research support the iSchool’s mission to educate “information professionals who are highly competent in virtual and physical environments and who contribute to the well-being of our global commu­nities.” To support this globally-focused mission, the iSchool has several strategic directions, including “identify and implement ways to build in internationalization and global­ization components into the curriculum.”

Several unique course offerings in the iSchool’s Master of Library and Information Science degree program are highlighted in the article, including INFO 281 International and Comparative Librarianship, which incorporates project-based learning. Sellar, co-executive director of Librarians Without Borders, will be teaching the course in fall 2015. Another course, INFO 298 Virtually Abroad, taught by Christensen, offers graduate students the chance to work virtually on an international project with a specific organization for an entire semester. 

International internships are also featured in the article, including those done by students working with Librarians Without Borders. The JELIS article highlights the ways that virtual international internships allow students to gain practical experience in an international library and information science setting while also providing beneficial services to community partners.

In the article, Hagar calls attention to the iSchool’s Center for Information Research and Innovation (CIRI), which “showcases faculty and student research in library and informa­tion science and innovative projects aimed at generating exemplary new practices to benefit a global audience.” CIRI’s advisory board members are leading international information professionals working in government, industry, and academia. The virtual research center’s partners include universities, non-profit organizations, and professional associations across the globe.

Bernier discusses the iSchool’s global affiliations and the international professional development activities of faculty members, which include participation in forums such as the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) congress, and events such as annual symposia at the South Korean National Library. These professional development opportunities facilitate international collaborations, and allow faculty members to imagine, share, and develop new strategies, programs, and perspectives.

Among other international events and programs at the iSchool, Hirsh highlights the Library 2.0 Worldwide Virtual Conference series, which the school launched in 2011 in partnership with Steve Hargadon of The Learning Revolution, in order “to build global community and to spark global conversations around the future of libraries.” The free annual online event draws presenters and attendees from across the globe to discuss the most important trends, technologies, and practices in the information field. This year’s conference, the Library 2.015 Worldwide Virtual Conference, will take place on October 20, 2015, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. PDT.

As shown in the JELIS article, the iSchool is leading the way in international library and information science education, forging new pathways, sponsoring new research, and facilitating new collaborations in an ever more interconnected world.

The article is green open access. It was originally published in the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science Volume 56, Supplement 1 (2015).