Information and the Future

This is the blog of the Information and the Future task force of the Rolfing Library at Trinity International University. The IF task force exists to explore the role of libraries in the future of Christian higher education.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Defining community

I would like to see the library be more intentional about fostering community on campus and so I've started to think about what that means.

When I think of community at college, I think about staying up late in dorm rooms engaged in conversations that constantly rambled back and forth from academic to non-academic topics. For me at least these conversations were not only enjoyable but an important part of internalizing and working through the new material I was reading and learning in class. So important in fact that it is hard for me to imagine college without this type of community.

In trying to move beyond anecdotal experience to a more generalized definition of campus community, I discovered the report Campus Life: In Search of Community issued by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1990). This report lists 6 principles that "Define the kind of community every college and university should strive to be." (p.7) They are:

1. Educationally purposeful
2. Open - freedom of expression protected and greeted with civility
3. Just - each person treated with dignity
4. Disciplined - people accept responsibility and work for the common good
5. Caring
6. Celebrative - rituals affirm both tradition and change

I think that these principles capture much of what I appreciated about the informal community I described above. In future posts I hope to look at how libraries, and especially libraries' web presence may foster this type of community but I'm curious would you add to this list of principles or qualify any of them?

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