When you’re closer to retirement than you are to the start of your career, it can be hard to step into a room full of sharp-minded, energetic young people discussing youth issues and feel you have anything to offer. But step into that room as an Information Studies specialist and suddenly you’ve closed the gap. Thanks to its focus on emerging technologies and the latest methods of searching and retrieving information, library and information science helps put information seekers and information gatherers squarely on the same page. As quickly as ideas percolate around them, information professionals are able to step up to the challenge of providing data and guiding clients toward the answers they seek.
This week Community Foundations of Canada held its first ever Vital Youth Dialogue in Ottawa. The goal, to “move beyond reporting on national youth issues to engaging youth in a creative, forward-thinking conversation”. The foundation’s plan is to use the experience as a prototype for similar discussions at its conference in Winnipeg next June.
Among issues discussed: student loan debt, youth unemployment, delays in participating in post-secondary education, and Baby Boomers remaining in the workforce, or returning after retirement.
As an Information Studies volunteer for the event’s Vital Youth Café, I was part of a team that provided research services to participants on questions related to the challenge of helping vulnerable youth. Examples of queries included how to locate available low-cost or no-cost meeting spaces for youth-based programs; statistics on youth choices following high school; and types of entrepreneurial programs for aboriginal youth.
Judging by the level of chatter and earnestness of the group discussions, enthusiasm for the challenge of improving the lives of Canada’s youth was very high — maybe even matching my own enthusiasm for the value of Information Studies.
For more on Community Foundations of Canada and the Vital Youth Dialogue: http://www.cfc-fcc.ca/news/news-releases_view.cfm?id=2055
For details on University of Ottawa`s Master of Information Studies program: http://www.sis.uottawa.ca/