Using the World Café Methodology to support community-centric research and practice in library and information science

Vanessa L. Kitzie, Jocelyn Pettigrew, Travis L. Wagner, A. Nick Vera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The World Café (TWC) methodology is a form of action research that develops collective knowledge among individuals and communities to address shared problems. TWC can complement LIS research and practice that is increasingly participatory and community centric. The potentials and pitfalls for TWC are illustrated by ongoing research examining public library service to LGBTQIA+ communities for health information. The authors used TWC in a community forum between LGBTQIA+ community leaders and librarians/paraprofessionals in [name removed for blind review]. Per TWC conventions, participants engaged in day-long rotating café-style table conversations that encouraged new ideas and collective dialog. Discussion centered on two themes: barriers to health information faced by LGBTQIA+ communities and collective strategies for leaders and librarians/paraprofessionals to address them. Findings indicate that TWC can advance LIS research and practice in the following ways: refuting deficit frameworks, fostering information communities, and supporting social-justice-oriented praxis. Methodological shortcomings relate to the blind spots TWC affords to social inequality and power. The authors recommend that researchers and practitioners should incorporate intersectional and reflexive methods into TWC to address these shortcomings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101050
JournalLibrary and Information Science Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Community forum
  • Health information
  • Lgbtqia
  • Public libraries
  • The world café

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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