Scholarship for academic librarians

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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 14 July 2017


See also Research Portal for Academic Librarians | Scholarly publishing and communication | Scholarship 2.0 | Web 2.0

"...scholarly work is expected of all librarians. Unlike traditional faculty research, a librarian’s scholarly work usually derives from professional practice. Candidates for tenure or promotion will engage in scholarly work appropriate to academic librarianship with the fundamental expectation that the results of scholarly work will be shared with other members of the profession and the academic community..." — Schrader, 2012

The pursuit of scholarly research by academic librarians is a topic of some debate, and perhaps even confusion in academic library circles. While most academic librarians are busy with daily reference, instructional and collections-related activities and spend fewer than five hours per week on research or publishing activities, some academic librarians still find the requisite time to speak at conferences and publish the occasional research article. Some academic librarians are adroit at finding a balance between their daily activities and making durable contributions to the profession. According to the research, academic librarians who publish are more likely to derive satisfaction from their work, meet their career goals and have a significant creative output.

To create and advance knowledge in library and information science (LIS), some academic librarians select quantitative or qualitative research methods. By applying research methods to the practical challenges of library and information provision, academic librarians can begin to make scholarly inquiries in several areas. Publishing and doing research are two related ways of promoting libraries and the work of professional librarians. Research creates new opportunities for disseminating ideas and to share experiences. Some academic librarians have a specific way of discussing library services, dealing with copyright, discussing resources and information literacy. The sharing and dissemination of experiences helps to bring about change within the academy. Librarians can share their concerns about students, and position LIS scholarship, when they are more actively involved. Publishing provides a way for academic librarians to collaborate with faculty and work to achieve strategic goals. Some helpful resources to explore research and teaching excellence are listed below.

Examples of scholarship for academic librarians

  • conducting bibliometric and citation studies
  • investigating how faculty and students seek and use information
  • creating new ways to organize information
  • developing new methods and strategies for information retrieval
  • establishing new mechanisms to evaluate library services and processes
  • researching the impact of the library on knowledge creation
  • examining effective approaches to doing reference and delivering instructional activities
  • publishing bibliographies; authoring blogs; creating wikis, etc.

Types of scholarly contributions

  • publishing research in journals, books, and conference proceedings
  • peer-reviewing an article
  • editorial position at a journal
  • poster session at a conference
  • conference presentations
  • book chapter
  • non-refereed article
  • writing conference paper
  • authoring a blog
  • maintaining a wiki
  • writing a grant
  • book review

Scholarship in teaching

See also


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