Workshop 4 ~ Research led libraries

Are they or aren’t they, led by research? 


Is the Library & Information Science profession research led?

Workshop 4 explored the issue of research and evidence based practice and its role (or not) within the Library & Information Science (LIS) profession. Questioning whether the LIS sector is ‘research led’ and to what extent is the LIS profession grounded in a culture of evidence based practice (EBP) proved to be a very interesting topic.

Ann Gillespie was the guest speaker for this workshop, discussing the results of her own academic research that delved into the theory of EBP, what it is and what ideas are implemented as a library professional. The context of her research was the role of the Teacher/Librarian and how they demonstrated the value of EBP.

Based on Todd (2009), Ann had listed 6 common beliefs about EBP in school librarianship:

  • School libraries are essential for addressing curriculum standards
  • Teacher Librarians (TLs) were well placed to lead and transform educational practice
  • School libraries play a transformative role in the intellectual, social and cultural development of children
  • TLs enable transformation of information to knowledge
  • The value of the school library can be measured
  • Sustainable development is associated with accountability

I am a strong advocate of libraries being learning organisations (regardless of the TL focus in Ann’s research) and agree with her that these 6 common EBP beliefs of librarianship can be transferred in general, across the broad array of library environments. The purpose of these 6 core beliefs identify EBP in librarianship goes beyond assessing, appraising and utilising research to solve problems and inform practice. For instance, evidence can be used to collate and collect as ‘supportive evidence‘ that meet key performance indicators (KPIs) within a library’s workplace environment.

It’s clearly evident from the reading materials selected for this workshop (specifically in relation to EBLIP conference links) that EBP is of considerable interest to the LIS profession (sector) and that it instruction of EBP has impacted upon the LIS profession for over 10 years. The EBLIP conference (resonantly) sparked an interest when I reviewed the links to conference snippets and thought, that’s definitely going on my TO DO list, err Career Planning. After a quick Google *cough* search I’m stoked to see that EBLIP8 in 2015 will be hosted by QUT, Brisbane… woot! I live down the highway and the dates are perfect…

METLIB2015 Conference first, EBLIP82015 Conference second!

I’m telling you. Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third…
~~ The Naughty Nineties Abbott & Costello film (1945)
AS RECORDED BY the Abbott & Costello Quarterly

It’s all a matter of timing, isn’t it… !?

Eeks! Is that a common theme beginning to occur?

I perused the paper presented by Clare, Partridge and Edwards (2008) at the ALIA Biennial Conference: Dreaming 08, Alice Springs addressed whether the library and information professionals were ready for evidence based practice and who’s responsibility was it to enforce (?) EBP instruction and/or opportunities. Clare et al iterated that individuals working in [any] industry can put into practice what they have learned during their academic studies. However, I strongly believe that regardless of the intention behind the instruction and the expected learning outcomes, it is still up to the sole individual in engaging with what’s offered to learn and furthermore, to what level one chooses to learn.

I fully agree though with Clare et al’s breakdown of responsibilities, blatantly suggesting who does what, be it the individual professional, the educators, the industry employers and/or the professional bodies (organisations) if wanting overall success for the LIS profession to holistically grow.

I must admit (at this point in time), developing my inner ‘reflective practitioner’ has (indeed) been very challenging over the years…


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