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Ellen M. Knutson

Ellen M. Knutson is a Portland, Oregon based research associate at the Charles F. Kettering Foundation where she is a key member of the research team comprising Russian and US colleagues developing libraries as centers for public dialogue and deliberation. At Kettering, Knutson also works with college and university faculty members at minority serving schools who want to include elements of civic engagement in their teaching and research, and who want to encourage their students to become more civically engaged.  She is an adjunct assistant professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois where she teaches courses on community engagement, international librarianship and a foundations course to students in the online Master’s program. She also teaches international librarianship at North Carolina Central University. Formerly, she was the program director for graduate student programs at the Center for Civic Engagement at Northwestern University. 

Knutson is a conversation facilitator for the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project and has served her community through chairing a participatory budgeting committee in the 49th Ward in Chicago and serving as the lead writer for a research committee at the City Club of Portland. Knutson serves on the advisory committee for the American Library Association’s Center for Civic Life. As co-chair of the Russia-U.S. Library Dialogue: The Civic Role of Libraries in the 21st Century she has participated in the Dartmouth Conference dialogue between Russian and U.S. citizens.   


Knutson received her MS and PhD in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in Political Science from Reed College.  She has written articles and book chapters on libraries as a community institution including: “Libraries and Community Engagement: From Informing to Engaging” in National Civic Review, “Libraries and Ecology in Post-Soviet Russia” in Advances in Library Administration and Organization: Culture, Context and History in the Post-Soviet World of Information Institutions, Resources and Practices, and “New Realities: Libraries in Post-Soviet Russia” in Library Trends.  

Outside of professional life, Ellen is a print maker (Screen Print, Letterpress, and Solar Plate Intaglio), traveler, bicycle rider, and lover of mountains and forests and oceans. Seeing live music is perhaps her favorite leisure activity. She is always looking for book, movie, podcast, music, and other popular culture recommendations.

Moderador: Nuno Marçal