Saturday, April 9, 2011

Letter from the Editors: Notes on Community

At the heart of every library institution is a unique community and culture. The differences in philosophy, policy and practice between archival, public, academic and special libraries can seem insurmountable as a result of a feeling of separation from the world outside of one’s own library. Rather than seeing a greater community as a challenge, communication, memberships in larger organizations, and education, can begin to make librarians part of something greater than their immediate environment. What may first seem like a roadblock can be an opportunity for networking, understanding and growth. A question that comes to mind then is how can we best support and sustain a network of relationships that leads us into the future? In this issue, Editor Jane Gilvin examines how professional organizations and conferences can help young professionals and students establish a sustainable network, while co-editor Kim Galloway explores the networking possibilities available within our own SLIS.

Community can be preserved by archives, as the larger Hollywood film community is preserved at the Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills. Contributor Alison Leonard shares her experience visiting the archives with one of SJSU’s own community groups, the Society of American Archivists SJSU Student Chapter.

Community can also be built around a library, bringing together people with similar interests, or those with disparate experiences. Heather Hoffman’s contribution to this semester’s newsletter examines how community is built and defined at a library serving two different populations: a university and the wider public.

What meaning does the word community have to you? Do you hope your work in the library and information management world will serve a particular community? Have you experienced a particularly welcoming or unwelcoming community as a patron or employee of a library? We hope this edition of the Call Number will encourage you to start a dialogue about how networking and a professional community can enhance your education and your career in library science.

Kim Galloway & Jane Gilvin

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