Instant Ideas and Collaboration
Our chat for May looked at all areas of librarians as researchers in institutions, as well as librarians undertaking research as academics. Below are some of the key points that were raised as part of the chat.
Q1) As a librarian, do you sit within a core “library” team, or are you embedded into various areas of your organisation?
All respondents were definite “librarians” – no one was embedded. People felt that the areas where embedded librarians are seen most often are; law, hospitals, and academia (ie. Academic liaison).
There was also a discussion over if school librarians were embedded or not. The argument was that the curriculum comes before the library environment, and therefore they should identify with curriculum areas, not the library itself.
@Kosjanka: I sit in a wide team that encompasses: research, evidence, data, mapping, modelling, KM and research comms
Q2) Do you feel that ‘embedded librarianship’ dilutes or strengthens a “library” brand, and people’s understanding of what you do?
@greebstreebling: It depends on the environment! Sometimes I think it doesn’t matter; people ignore us until they want us then are amazed at what we do!
@EmmaBettyHughes: I have no real idea, but I would of thought that it strengthens the brand. A librarian right there showing people what they can do!
@EmmaBettyHughes: actually I’m sure I heard somewhere of a trial w/ librarian going on ward round with drs & care improved 20% or something….
@LibrarySherpa: Honestly, I do feel that it dilutes the brand because I think the visual of a centralized location reinforces a brand.
@Kosjanka: I work hard to build ties with the diff research teams. One team I meet with every 2 weeks. I’m key to their success.
Q3) In what ways do you support researchers?
@Kangarooth: provide enquiry support, buy books and resources for research, have webpage for researchers. Tends to be PhDs face to face
@Kangarooth: I also help out with training (EndNote, lit searching), but again tends to be PhD, rather than lecturers etc
@AgentK23: My personal contribution is Refworks training. We also look at free resources on the web, & link to things that may be useful
@LibClare: We help people to help themselves … but also help people to Get Things Done. In Industrial Research, time is money
@bibliotekaargh: limited exp.in this, but sorting out journal access/remote access for researchers big part of it.
@libreddite: I support researchers by providing training in databases, referencing software. service also working on REF support.
@roogly: Manchester has a Research Services team for specialist help inc. citation analysis, publishing,research data management
4) Does your Library subscribe to any LIS related journals? And do you read them? #uklibchat
@LibrarySherpa: We subscribe to only a few and not sure they are technically journals. I prefer to read LIS blogs.
@Kangarooth: we subscribe to some LIS journals. A selection is displayed in staff room before going onto shelves
@Kangarooth: we have cilip Update, ALISS quarterly and JOLIS in staff room. Mostly people browse them, but have found some relevant articles
@laurengracenilo: this is an interesting article
@amycrossmenzies: errr ooh anything really, just mean keeping eye open for anything interesting. Philosophy’s my thing so i look at that
@StevenHeywood: I think public library service focus too much on buildings, too little on services, making both vulnerable …consequently, their value to the general researcher too often undermined or even cast aside #uklibchat
@LibClare: The mag I make a point of looking at is Research Information. But get info from loads of less formal sources these days.
Q5) Have you carried out/published research on the LIS area? What was it about? #uklibchat
@LibrarySherpa: Other than for my MLIS degree, no. Wrote a paper once that proved my small sampling of students raised w/card catalog fared better with library skills, FWIW.
@Karenmca: some years ago I wrote piece on lib services for disabled students – before such services became mainstream.
@libreddite was part of Library and Information research Group cttee (CILIP) but not published any research.
@tomroper: This seems to me to be the problem, look at our professional literature and you wouldn’t know we’re a research-based profession – A suppliers’ press release based profession, yes
There was also talk of a publish or perish culture in US for HE librarians. As they are seen as academic members of staff, they have to publish – would this culture be good for the LIS sector in the UK?
Q6) Is enough published/researched outside of HE?
Not sure how much research will take place in a “proper” academic envt in LIS in future though, what with funding cuts in UK #uklibchat
@Spoontragedy: I’m now in quite a specific sector, careers info. I think role involves a lot of research but not shared much outside sector
Q7) Have you ever used LIS research in a practical way in your job? (e.g. as evidence when proposing a change?) #uklibchat
@Kosjanka: Have done desk research to inform policy on storage for CD-ROMs that accompany books (back in 2000’s!)
@uklibchat: To secure time for projects as examples of best practice
@spoontragedy: I have used research to advocate for changes, eg using social media, changing the way we market services more generally
8) Is the librarian’s research support role recognised and valued within the institution?
@LibWig: With regards to the wider LIS society as a whole though, I’m not so sure- certainly wasn’t as much in places I worked in the past
@spoontragedy: Yes. Helping service users research their own careers is seen as core part of role. Also researching best resources to promote
@spoontragedy: This isn’t research in the traditional academic sense, but it’s the kind of research that’s relevant in the careers service
@esuffield: yes definitely we are guiding students with research techniques on a daily basis to help with studies 🙂
@Kangarooth: we recently surveyed just this. Mixed results, but generally felt librarians have own niche, don’t need to replicate grad school
@spoontragedy: In public libraries, I think we did research support in a very broad sense (helping students etc) but wasn’t recognised
Many thanks to everyone who joined us! See you at the next chat to discuss collection management!