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BC Library Conference 2020

F20 - The Community Scholars Program: Building capacity by making Paywalled Research more accessible.

Friday, April 17, 2020 at 2:45 PM–3:30 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Meeting Room #2
Session Description

Libraries provide critical services to the communities that they serve. Relationships and agreements among libraries of all kinds link communities, and strengthen and enhance libraries' capacity to provide services and meet users’ needs. However, there are holes in this critical network -- de facto infrastructure -- for some groups. Significantly, unaffiliated researchers in nonprofit and charitable organizations who support important societal outcomes often work without access to the resources and services of an academic library.

Nonprofit and charitable organizations are key to social and economic well-being in BC and Canada, contributing upwards of 8% to GDP and to positive outcomes related to literacy, poverty reduction, community programming, and recidivism. Frequently the activities of these organizations are the subject of study; it seems right that the products of such inquiry, along with other published scholarly information, should be available to support both their effectiveness and the communities that depend on their work.

The Community Scholars Program mitigates this situation to an extent in BC by offering access to content from participating academic publishers for eligible researchers, and supporting them with skills and strategies that bridge paywalled and Open Access information. The program supports researchers as they develop and evaluate programs and services, produce information for public education, or seek resources for improving organizational effectiveness.

The Community Scholars Program is jointly provided by the libraries at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Island University, University of Northern British Columbia, and Thompson Rivers University, with the generous support of the United Way, Mindset Foundation, and McConnell Foundation. In this session we will reflect on the potential of the program to support organizations that build capacity in our society, economy, and democracy. We will explore how this occurs through access to paywalled academic content, communities of practice, and expert advice and services related to scholarly information.


Dana McFarland, Vancouver Island University

Dana McFarland is a Community Scholars Librarian and is Librarian & Coordinator for eResources & Scholarly Communication at Vancouver Island University Library.

Kate Shuttleworth, Simon Fraser University

Kate Shuttleworth is a Community Scholars Librarian and Librarian, Digital Publishing at Simon Fraser University Library, and an on-call Reference Librarian at Douglas College.

Kealin McCabe, University of Northern British Columbia

Kealin McCabe is a Community Scholars Librarian and Research & Learning Services Librarian at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Shane Neifer, Thompson Rivers University

Shane Neifer is a Community Scholars Librarian and is a Reference and Instructional Librarian at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC.