Current and Recent Research

New! Roots and Flowers: The Life and Work of Afro-Cuban Libarian Marta Terry González

This recently published book by Abdul Alkalimat and Kate Williams examines Cuba and its libraries in part through the lens of Afro-Cuba. We discussed the book in a recent Kalamazoo College blogpost; you can also read the introduction. The book helps North Americans understand the parallels and differences between Afro-Cuba and the African-American community in the US. It also informs and helps internationalize our own library theories and practices by showing how Cuba's libraries stand on the island's values, culture, and political economy.

Older adults, a community, a library, and all their digital devices

Invited by managers at a local residential community for seniors, we are carrying out a study of what residents do and want to do with technology and who gives and gets tech help.  The study looks at people, but also at community.  It parallels and is informed by the dissertation research of Community Informatics Research Lab member Noah Lenstra, now writing up his thesis. It dovetails with a long-running U of I tech volunteer program initiated by the CI Lab and managed by the Illinois Informatics Initiative.

Community informatics literature review

An analysis of a systematically-gathered collection of 563 community informatics studies from leading journals and edited volumes across nine disciplines. How do these studies, conducted in 119 countries, speak to our finding of a positive role for local community connections in sustaining technology use? What are general agreements, disagreements, and silences?

The origins of public computing in the U.S. public library

It appears that neighborhood-based librarians, their patrons, and members of the public not already connected to the branch library helped drive this innovation. A detailed history of Chicago Public Library can shed more light on community resilience during today’s digital transformations. Might it suggest strategies for today’s resource-strapped but much-used public libraries? How does it compare to other country’s public computing development paths?