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Why Service Learning?

Posted on Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Service learning (SL) has been an important part of my career for the past two years.  I devoured SL literature, and discovered that SL is discussed infrequently in the library literature (although I have discovered a few more SL fans in library land).    I integrated SL into four models of  information literacy & library instruction. I hope to share my experiences with other librarians, and start a conversation about the connections between SL and information literacy.  I must admit,  I hope this blog will help propel SL into library conferences, literature and conversations. In the last couple years, I have witnessed some meaningful student "a ha!" moments when they connect their information literacy skills to the real world through SL.  I'm hooked.  Imagine reading a student's reflection paper in which she confesses that she used to think that homeless people were lazy and unwilling to work but thanks to your information literacy class, she has developed an understanding and compassion for others.  And this all happened while learning information literacy and research skills.  Significant learning happens! Does SL take more time?  Absolutely.  Does it get messy?  You bet!  But it's worth the time and mess.  I'm willing to share any of my ideas, documents, lesson plans, etc.  All you have to do is ask.  I'm also hoping others who have tried integrating SL with information literacy/research will speak up here or in the literature.