Building the basis for evidence based library and information practice

Partridge, Helen and Bruce, Christine and Gillespie, Ann and Miller, Faye (2016) Building the basis for evidence based library and information practice. In: 2016 Australian Library and Information Association National Conference (ALIA 2016): Engage, Create, Lead, 30 Aug - 1 Sept 2016, Adelaide, Australia.

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With a total of 111 million annual visits, libraries are fundamental to Australia's social fabric and increasingly to its success as a national economy. In the current volatile economic climate however, Australia's libraries are being called upon to do more with less. This paper will present the findings of a project funded by the Australian Research Council that aimed to help Australia’s libraries to make tough decisions in an environment where there is competition for limited resources. The project established an empirical basis for evidence-based library and information practice (EBLIP). Simply stated, EBLIP is an approach to professional practice that is grounded in the use of research to gather evidence to inform the many decisions and problems that a practitioner must address.

Methods: The project consisted of two sub-studies. The public library sub-study was conducted using ethnography. Over a 5-month period, a member of the research team travelled to a regional public library service on 15 occasions staying between 3 and 4 days on each visit. The researcher observed, interacted and became involved in the day-to-day activities of this library. These activities were recorded in a journal and added to the researcher’s insights and thoughts. Additionally, 12 face-to-face interviews with staff in positions ranging from the operational to the executive were conducted. The academic sub-study was conducted using Constructivist Grounded Theory. Semi-structured interviews were conducted either in person or via Skype, with 13 librarians from Queensland universities. Interviewees were in a diverse array of roles, from liaison librarian to manager and library director.

Results: The public library sub-study found that the following key aspects depicted the experience of EBLIP in a public library: leadership, culture, learning, context, collaboration and second nature. In the academic library sub-study six categories were constructed which describes librarians’ experiences of evidence-based practice as: empowering, intuiting, affirming, connecting, noticing and impacting.

Conclusions: The project findings help extend the current but limited empirically derived understanding of EBLIP. This project has identified and articulated several key aspects that need attention if EBLIP is to be developed as an approach to professional practice. These key aspects will be of interest to LIS educators, professional associations, employers and practitioners.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ Other
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2016 01:44
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2017 02:20
Uncontrolled Keywords: evidence-based practice, evidence-based library and information practice, qualitative research, library and information science, librarianship, practitioner-researcher
Fields of Research (2008): 08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0807 Library and Information Studies > 080706 Librarianship
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): B Economic Development > 89 Information and Communication Services > 8903 Information Services > 890302 Library and Archival Services
Funding Details:

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