Ginger’s research among notable dissertations of 2015

Jeff Ginger
Jeff Ginger, Adjunct Lecturer

Doctoral research is a treasure trove of useful information for LIS practitioners. Ten notable dissertations of 2015 are featured in this month’s American Libraries magazine, each with useful findings and recommendations for practitioners in a variety of library settings.

Among the featured authors is GSLIS alumnus Jeff Ginger (PhD '15). In his dissertation, "Capturing the Context of Digital Literacy: A Case Study of Illinois Public Libraries in Underserved Communities," Ginger presents findings from his study of how public libraries provide digital literacy resources and services to rural communities and those serving predominantly African-American and Latino populations. He found that libraries in these communities face multiple challenges, such as serving as the only available internet access provider and a lack of sufficient infrastructure, stable funding, or staff resources.

In her article, Kathy Rosa, director of the American Library Association’s Office of Research and Statistics, distilled from Ginger's work several strategies that could be implemented in libraries.

[Ginger] had several recommendations for libraries to succeed in providing leadership toward community proficiencies in digital literacies. First, library staffers and patrons need to work together to decide what digital literacy means in their community. Second, staff members need professional development to help with digital literacies training and become proficient in developing related programming. This training should go beyond teaching librarians how to work devices and use software; instead, they need to know how to instruct and engage with patrons. To assess programming, library officials must show how a patron is changed by the programming, not merely count how many people attended or used computers. Providing resources and professional development about assessment can help empower staff members to accurately measure and improve the success of digital literacy efforts.

Currently, Ginger is a program coordinator and adjunct instructor with the Illinois Informatics Institute and GSLIS. He is also director of the CU Community Fab Lab, where he lends a critical but optimistic perspective to the study and implementation of education-oriented makerspaces, particularly in regard to key challenges such as cultivating and supporting diversity and sustainably establishing capacity-building technology education services in collaboration with underserved communities. His teaching is primarily situated in social and community informatics, deciphering the discourse and effects of the digital divide and Web 2.0, critical pedagogy in technology education, and contextualized study of human-computer interaction.

Tags:
Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

iSchool alumna works to preserve, celebrate African American history in Bronzeville

Sherry Williams (MS '19) has a personal connection to her work as president and founder of the Bronzeville Historical Society. The Bronzeville neighborhood, located on Chicago’s South Side, was known as the "Black Metropolis" during its heyday in the early twentieth century. The Great Migration brought many African Americans to Bronzeville, including Williams’ grandmother, who moved to the area from the Delta of Mississippi in 1942.

Sherry Williams

Benson and Koscielski to receive 2020 ILA awards

The 2020 Illinois Library Association (ILA) award recipients include two iSchool alumni, Sara Benson (MS '17), adjunct assistant professor at the iSchool and copyright librarian at the University Library, and Roberta Koscielski (MS '82), deputy director of the Peoria (IL) Public Library. 

Hagar’s crisis informatics research informs COVID-19 challenges

"Crisis informatics," a term coined by iSchool alumna Chris Hagar (PhD '05) and Leysia Palen, professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is now a well-established area of study. Crisis informatics explores the interconnectedness of information, people, and technologies in crises and examines the intersecting trajectories of social, technical, and information dynamics during the full life cycle of a crisis. While Hagar first used the term in her PhD dissertation, which focused on the UK's foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in 2001, there are many similar information challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chris Hagar

Diesner lab to present research at computational social science conference

Members of Associate Professor and PhD Program Director Jana Diesner's Social Computing Lab will present a tutorial, paper, and posters at the 6th Annual International Conference on Computational Social Science (IC2S2), which will be held virtually from July 17-20. The conference brings together academic researchers, industry experts, open data activists, and government agency workers to explore challenges, methods, and research questions in the field of computational social science.