Role of Libraries in Geography and GIS Education (#1)

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Geography Education Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Plaza Court 8, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Organizers: Jessica Benner, Emma Slayton
Chairs: Jessica Benner

Call for Submissions

The goal of this session is to bring together librarians, researchers, and others to discuss how they are teaching geographic principles and GIS software in informal-academic spaces and assessing the impact of their work. Insights gained will be used to inform the development of a network focused on the role of libraries in geography and GIS education, as well as the collection and collation of pedagogical materials related to spatial literacies and tools that fit within developing best practices for the field at large into a repository.

We are accepting papers related to any aspect of informal or alternative education, spatial literacy, maps, or GIS found in libraries whether they are part of formal instruction, workshops or consultations. Please send abstracts to

The organizers of this session are Emma Slayton and Jessica Benner, GIS Specialists at the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries.


Best practices in geography and GIS education (for all age levels) are still being developed, particularly in terms of pedagogies for building spatial literacy. Much of this practice has been focused on working with individuals in k-12 education (ex. Chang and Kidman 2019; Collins and Mitchell 2018; Kirchberg 2000; Mitchell 2017). We feel that libraries can support the development of pedagogy, research in geography education and actually teach people of all ages about geographic practices, maps, data and spatial information. Furthermore, these activities can be connected to educational efforts occurring within the k-12 or college classroom. At their core, all libraries are cultural heritage institutions that support education, research and civic life within a community. Libraries act as a stronghold for education on spatial literacy and critical engagement with geographic concepts in the following ways:

Libraries are connection points to help people (community members and students) learn about spatial concepts and geospatial tools. People encounter geospatial tools in their daily life on a wide scale but they are often unprepared to engage with or use these technologies in critical ways.

Libraries are spaces that can be used to:
..Teach about spatial concepts (one-off, series or full courses)
..Consult with and support individuals in their existing and emerging projects
..Outreach to a variety of communities about geography concepts and the role of geography in society


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Joshua Sadvari*, The Ohio State University Libraries, Geospatial Education and Information Literacy: Mapping Concepts to Locate Learning Opportunities 15 8:00 AM
Presenter Emma Slayton*, Carnegie Mellon University, Jessica Benner, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, Spatial Education in Libraries 15 8:15 AM
Presenter Philip White*, University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, GUI-Free GIS Instruction in the Library with Jupyter Notebooks 15 8:30 AM
Presenter Maria A. Jankowska*, UCLA Charles E. Young Library, Importance of historical landscape: Mapping Bamberg settlers in Greater Poland 15 8:45 AM
Discussant Jessica Benner Carnegie Mellon University 15 9:00 AM

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