For immediate release | January 4, 2022

Communities of practice in the academic library

CHICAGO — How can academic librarians strengthen their practice of teaching and provide education through access to information, using intentional efforts to both learn and share in a social context? Building and fostering communities of practice (CoP) is the ideal way forward, as Michelle Reale demonstrates in her new book “Communities of Practice in the Academic Library: Strategies for Implementation,” published by ALA Editions. With her guidance, readers will:

  • understand how coming together in pursuit of knowledge and shared goals can lead to a more fulfilling work environment and better professional outcomes;
  • get pointers on how to begin with simple, casual collaborative efforts that won’t conflict with busy schedules;
  • learn from Reale’s personal narratives of how CoP took root at her own institution, and the ways in which it continued to flourish during the lockdowns necessitated by the pandemic;
  • receive a flexible CoP framework for implementation that can be tailored to fit their own needs and goals;
  • see how to nurture conversation, participation, collaborative inquiry, and mindfulness, all essential ingredients of the CoP;
  • feel comfortable using personal stories as tools for sensemaking within the CoP as well as ongoing individual learning and growth; and
  • be encouraged to follow through and stick with it, using the reflection questions and activities at the end of each chapter.

Reale is a professor at Arcadia University. Her other books include "Meeting the Challenge of Teaching Information Literacy,” “The Indispensable Academic Librarian: Teaching and Collaborating for Change,” “Mentoring and Managing Students in the Academic Library,” and “Becoming a Reflective Librarian and Teacher: Strategies for Mindful Academic Practice.”

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Related Links

"Communities of Practice in the Academic Library: Strategies for Implementation"

"Using Context in Information Literacy Instruction: Beyond Basic Skills"

"Teaching Research Data Management"


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Marketing Coordinator

American Library Association

ALA Publishing & Media