Assessment Update – Community Engagement
By Patricia L. Gregory, Assistant Dean for Library Assessment
During the Fall 2015 semester, the Pius/Medical Center Libraries Committee surveyed the 77 library faculty and staff in both libraries to determine the extent of activities defined as community outreach and engagement. In view of the University’s emphasis on the strategic plan, the Clocktower Accords, and the Community Engagement Inventory, it seemed like a good time to collect information from the libraries. Using the Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement, respondents were asked to list outreach activities the library was involved in during the past four years. Examples include librarians providing information literacy classes for area high school students which help reach potential SLU students. Many community members participate in the expanded Library Associates events surrounding the St. Louis Literary Award. Special Collections hosts public programs on manuscripts and rare books featuring guest lecturers. The Medical Center Library has also sponsored numerous special outreach events and exhibitions.
The other survey question requested ideas for future activities that the library could pursue. The library is a natural fit for sponsoring exhibitions, lectures, and speakers to enrich scholarship and research. Many of these activities help prepare educated, engaged citizens and contribute to the public good and to the greater University efforts to increase college-bound students from disadvantaged school districts.