Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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Public lecture given in the Knight Library, University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon), May 10, 2017.


Copyright 2017, the author. Used by permission. Images used under terms of U.S. copyright fair use provisions or by permission.


Science libraries are integral to the process of science inquiry.

Science education is facilitated within science libraries.

The future of science libraries is predicated on librarians maintaining a meaningful relationship with those engaging in scholarship.

Science libraries need to combine traditional and emerging service models, provide access to a wide array of materials, incorporate appropriate technology, and offer ergonomic work spaces to promote effective learning.

The science commons includes varied work spaces which encourage innovation and creativity, facilitate situated and active learning, and promote communities of practice.

The National Science Education Standards definition of science inquiry includes the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. It refers also to the activities through which students develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world.

Science education outcomes are both facilitative of and dependent on scholarly communication, users' science literacy, inclusion, and innovation.

Scholarly communication involves the publishing of texts, multimedia, and data. Libraries provide access to these outputs.

Concerns overlaying all science publishing are copyright, permissions, and licensing. Commercial, nonprofit, and gratis publishers all contribute.

There are numerous science text, multimedia, and data repositories.

Both open and proprietary scholarship need to be incorporated into library collections. Open scholarship facilitates greater sharing opportunities.

Science librarians have an important role to play in combating science illiteracy.

Except in math, post secondary pedagogical best practices in the sciences are not yet widely adopted. Science librarians can partner with faculty to begin to create best practices, sometimes within discipline-based education research initiatives.

Science librarians already engage in a multitude of science outreach activities including creation of online tools, providing instruction, and conducting informal science education activities.

The public mission inherent in public academic libraries necessitates inclusive practices. Libraries have an important role to play in science equity and accessibility. Initiatives such as First Year Experience and User Experience have been created toward this end.

Public academic science libraries have an important role to play in science advocacy and awareness of public policy pertaining to science infrastructure and funding.

Academic science libraries are natural springboards for science innovation and science education innovations. Opportunities abound for innovative approaches to inquiry and pedagogy.

In summary, science libraries are a vital component in excellent post-secondary science education, now is the time to partner with colleagues in the academy to help establish post-secondary science pedagogical best practices, and innovations in science education are facilitated by new learning spaces, such as the science commons.