Brian Kenney Publishers Weekly 3 May 2013
Brian Kenney looks at becoming a librarian in the 21st century where the librarian’s and libraries’ role is ever changing.
RLUK has published a major report by Mary Auckland on the changing needs of researchers and the effect on the subject/liaison role within libraries.
As research activities evolve, research support must evolve with them. RLUK has been keen to determine what the new requirements of researchers are, and how best these needs can be met by the library. We want to place the needs of researchers in the context of the libraries current offering, and look at how we must change to fulfil the new demands placed upon us.
This report, Re-skilling for Research, takes us a long way to mapping these requirements. It looks in detail at researchers’ information needs and begins to outline the skills and knowledge that are required to meet those needs. The Report offers a comparison of different models of library support for researchers, with valuable comparisons of current job descriptions. Finally, issues around the training opportunities for subject librarians to acquire the additional skills and knowledge they will need to fulfill their new roles are explored.
A report such as this does not provide a definite set of answers, but initiates a valuable process, highlighting a number of activities for individual institutions, associations such as RLUK, library schools, etc
CILIP produced this list of resources < http://www.cilip.org.uk/get-involved/advocacy/pages/further-education.aspx#government > to demonstrate the value and impact of Library services in Further Education (FE). It also contains a number of sources relating to Higher Education (HE). The complete long list has over 50 references; there is also a selected short list. Both are available to download. Sections include:
- FE Guidelines
- Case studies
- Impact of FE library and information services
- Support for teaching and learning
- Evaluating FE library and information services
- Evaluation of digital resources in FE
- HE in FE – opportunities and challenges
- Shared services
- Government FE policy
- General FE resources
Felix drew my attention to this [rather depressing] new report that describes the results of a joint study by OCLC Research and the UK’s Research Information Network. They surveyed the value to researchers of support provided by administration and libraries in four US and four UK universities. A lot of the focus is around institutional repositories which, compared with discipline/subject repositories, appear to be less appreciated by researchers.
MacColl, J & Jubb, M 2011, Supporting Research: Environments, Administration and Libraries OCLC Research, Dublin, Ohio.
The ACRL publication Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report is a review of the quantitative and qualitative literature, methodologies and best practices currently in place for demonstrating the value of academic libraries, developed for ACRL by Megan Oakleaf of the iSchool at Syracuse University. The primary objective of this comprehensive review is to provide academic librarians with a clearer understanding of what research about the performance of academic libraries already exists, where gaps in this research occur, and to identify the most promising best practices and measures correlated to performance.
For the full report go to : http://www.acrl.ala.org/value/
As librarians seek to redefine themselves, the model of embedded librarianship is generating interest as an effective means of applying the knowledge and skills of librarians towards the information challenges of the digital age. Embedded librarianship takes a librarian out of the context of the traditional library and places him or her in an “on-site” setting or situation that enables close coordination and collaboration with researchers or teaching faculty.
The idea behind the embedded librarianship model is to enable librarians to demonstrate their expertise as information specialists and to apply this expertise in ways that will have a direct and deep impact on the research, teaching, or other work being done.
Through embedded librarianship, librarians move from a supporting role into partnerships with their clientele, enabling librarians to develop stronger connections and relationships with those they serve.
Go to source:
This jointly commissioned RLUK and RIN report presents the findings of a systematic study of the value of the services that libraries in the UK provide to researchers, and of the contributions that libraries from a wide range of institutions make to institutional research performance. The aim of the report was to identify the key characteristics of library provision to support research in successful UK universities and departments. Libraries have changed and are changing, developing new roles and services. The findings are summarised in the form of map which sets out the key characteristics and behaviours of libraries, and the links between them and the performance of individual researchers and institutions. The detailed findings are thus presented in the form of ten stories – summarised in the map – about the different kinds of value that libraries provide in supporting both individual researchers and the research performance of their host institutions.
Go to source: http://www.rluk.ac.uk/content/value-libraries-research-and-researchers
An interesting variation on the “Why don’t students use librarians” research theme, utilising ethnographic research methods.
“What do students actually do when they are assigned a research project for a class assignment and what are the expectations of students, faculty and librarians of each other with regard to these assignments?”
“While the majority of students we interviewed struggled with one or more aspects of academic research, very few students sought help from a librarian. In fact, one of the most striking aspects of the ERIAL study was the near-invisibility of librarians within the academic worldview of students, and is symptomatic of students’ general belief that librarians do not possessthe disciplinary expertise necessarily to provide sufficient assistance with research assignments.”
Som interesting insights into the reasons behind this situation and some ideas and concrete examples of how this research can be used. Worth a read, but if you’re time poor skip to the conclusions.
From a professor of English, a nice article for the start of the week.
Selected quotes below (but do read the whole article, it’s well considered in its positivity about our work).
“highly professional guides who can lead us through an increasingly tangled bank of information, librarians provide a voice of caution in a period when drastic, irreversible change seems like an easy fix for a concatenation of expensive institutional ailments.“
“In my experience, librarians almost always pass the beer test: They are among the most likeable people you’ll find at any college. They have the intellectual curiosity of academics without the aloofness and attitude often displayed by professors. If you are a stranger on a strange campus, the one person who will always save you is a librarian. “
“…libraries are becoming “the new village green.” Far from being the declining years of these revered institutions, the present offers new opportunities for collaboration and democratization with the library—and librarians—at the center of that experience.“
Review of a new book about the value of librarians.
This book is overdue: how librarians and cybrarians can save us all by Marilyn Johnson.
‘Like Henriette Avram, the heroes of “This Book Is Overdue” are resolutely high-tech, engaged in “activist and visionary forms of library work.’