The LSU School of Library & Information Science is focusing on the growing importance of multicultural populations’ needs from libraries and librarians in a new service-learning course, Media Services for Multicultural Populations.
Assistant Professor Robin Kurz and graduate students are working with the Carver Branch Library, which serves Old South Baton Rouge and is located at 720 Terrace Street. Historically, the Carver Branch Library has served a large African-American population, but has seen growth in international patrons. The service-learning project focuses on better serving these populations and fostering a multi-generational library program based on the rich oral traditions which thrive in the larger community.
“Programming at Carver Branch Library offers a fun experience that supports family literacy, student academic achievement, community involvement and the increased use of valuable library resources,” said Cynthia Watanabe, branch manager of the Carver Branch Library. “The collaboration enhances our current programming through the inclusion of patrons of all ages.”
Stephen Haddad, a library and information science master’s student in Kurz’s class, took the course to prepare him to serve the population of the Mountain West, an area both racially and culturally different from his native Louisiana. He stressed how essential understanding diversity is to the profession.
“We live in a multicultural society and as a librarian serving the public, it is necessary to be aware of multicultural issues in effectively providing that service,” Haddad said.
Classmate Doris Mueller, a second-year master’s student and Spanish teacher, also reiterated the importance of multicultural awareness and community focus in the field of Library & Information science.
“Multicultural awareness assists in meeting the needs of all members of the community,” Mueller said. “It is important to understand the needs of various cultures as well as how they might view and interact with library staff, materials and facilities. I look forward to working in the Carver Library and providing a service to the community. Hopefully, our efforts will benefit both the library and the people it serves.”
The service-learning course seeks to foster students’ awareness of the diverse populations in the U.S., familiarize students with materials appropriate for these populations, introduce diverse authors and illustrators to students, and broaden their knowledge of library services and programming for marginalized populations.
“Because many graduate programs focus on practice-based knowledge, service-learning gives graduate students the opportunity to give back to the community and get real-life experience in implementing classroom learning in professional environments,” Kurz said.
LSU students will be serving the Old South Baton Rouge Community at Around the World in Family Games: An International Family Fun Night to be held at the Carver Branch Library on Monday, Nov. 26, from 6-8 p.m. Families of all ages will join in an assortment of fun games from around the country and the globe. While adults, teens and older children challenge each other in friendly competition, preschool children will be treated to a special game-themed storytime with crafts in the Storytime Room. Refreshments will be served in the meeting room at 7:30 p.m.
For more updates about this event and more information about family programs at the Carver Branch Library, visitwww.ebrpl.com/LibraryServices/ProgramsClassesEvents.html.