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Reflective Essays

Vol. 24 No. 3

Resourcing Community Partnerships Through Academic Libraries

May 2, 2020


Institutional missions of colleges and universities are increasingly focused on community partnerships; embracing a commitment to conducting research with, rather than simply about communities.  As researchers who have partnered with communities know well, these relationships depend upon both material and informational resources that are not always easy to marshal.  In this article, we draw on our recent experience in a “research sprint” to argue that academic libraries and librarians are demonstrably primed to lead universities toward a fuller inclusion of community partners in academic research.  We find that academic libraries are uniquely well suited to become a productive force for researcher-community partnership given their expertise in teaching research inquiry skills, facilitating collaborative work throughout the research process, providing space and other material resources for research, and curating the all-too-often hidden intellectual resource of research support staff.