There’s a New Research Support Group in Town (or at least in Canada)

by Virginia Wilson, Director
Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (C-EBLIP)
University of Saskatchewan

It has been my experience as a librarian who has a mandate to conduct research (the tenure and promotion process as a faculty member at the University of Saskatchewan), who wants to conduct research (I’m curious, I want to learn!), and who has been at this for the past 10 years, that support for research endeavours is an important factor in the ability of librarian practitioner-researchers to move their research programs or projects forward. Organizational support and collegial, peer support are both valuable at every state of the research process. Some are lucky enough, like me, to work in an organization with a strong culture of research and the belief in the benefits of research for an academic career and for practice. Others perhaps do not have that kind of support readily available, working solo with no evident supports or working in an organization that does not support or value that type of work.

I recently found out about a new group in Nova Scotia, Canada, the LibrariesNS Research Support Group. This group was founded in June 2015, and its ultimate goal is to “increase the amount and quality of library research in Nova Scotia.” This group is targeted to all the librarians, library workers/technicians, and LIS academics working in Nova Scotia who are interested in research. The impetus for the group, according to the proposal that you can find on their part of the Libraries Nova Scotia webpage, came from a talk given by C-EBLIP Adjunct Member and University of Western Ontario librarian Kristin Hoffmann that was held at the Halifax Public Library in April 2015 entitled “Academic Librarians as Successful Researchers.” During the talk and the ensuing discussion, attending Nova Scotian librarians talked about research in their library community – its challenges and successes. The idea for a “work in progress” support group came out of that discussion and after a proposal to Libraries Nova Scotia, the group found a home and is now rolling out various supports to librarians from all sectors in Nova Scotia.

What a fabulous idea! While librarians spend a lot of time supporting researchers who work in our various organizations, we too need support for our research endeavours. Initiatives such as the CARL Librarian Research Institute on a national level and the Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice at the local level help to create a supportive and engaging environment in which librarians as researchers can explore questions related to practice (and even not related to practice!), conduct rigorous and timely research, and disseminate that research in order to inform colleagues and to enhance the evidence base for librarianship.

I’m interested in various supports out there for librarians as researchers. If your group or organization is doing something formally or informally around supporting practicing librarians who also conduct research, I’d like to hear about it if you are willing to share. You can contact me at virginia.wilson@usask.ca.

This article gives the views of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of the Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice or the University Library, University of Saskatchewan.

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