Why this class?

This course was created for a number of reasons, primarily...

  • Effective librarianship and knowledge work requires effective advocacy.
  • Community engagement and advocacy is becoming a larger and more critical part of what information professionals must know how to do.
  • Advocacy skills such as marketing, design and properly contextualized communication are not always part of core LIS offerings.
  • Complex issues of inclusion, digital and otherwise, require a sophisticated understanding and assessment of communication styles and strategies.

In this course, I hope to show you not just how to be a good advocate and ally, but also how to recognize good, bad and misleading communication and the design which accompanies it. We have much more control over the messages we are sending than we often take responsibility for. Let's learn to think about what we say and how we say it to achieve better outcomes for the people we are trying to help.

Teaching philosophy

In this class we will engage with material and also use tools to interact with and present material. Learning to use the tools effectively is part of the class and may be somewhat self-directed. These tools will include:

  • Slack
  • Google Docs
  • Email
  • Infographic builders
  • Social media applications

This class is designed to run asynchronously which means we may not all be in the same digital place at the same time. Students are expected to manage their time and track and meet deadlines using whatever tools are most useful to them. I am available as much as possible over the six weeks of this course to answer questions or provide links to resources, please contact me in whatever method works for you.

Meet your teacher

me with a hula hoopI'm Jessamyn West and I've been a librarian and technologist since graduating with my MLib. from the UW iSchool in 1996. I've worked in academic, public and special libraries and am currently working with the Galecia Group on an open source summer reading program platform for the state of California. I also teach basic technology classes in my hometown of Randolph, Vermont. I'm very active in digital divide and inclusion issues, frequently speaking at library conferences, and working with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. I'm on the Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board. I wrote the book Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide (2011) and have written a column for Computers in Libraries magazine since 2008.

More info: personal website, professional website, professional blog, resume