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Article
Publication date: 18 November 2022

Hazel Hall, Bruce Martin Ryan, Rachel Salzano and Katherine Stephen

The purpose of the empirical study was to examine whether strategies shown to work well in one model of network development for library and information science (LIS…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the empirical study was to examine whether strategies shown to work well in one model of network development for library and information science (LIS) practitioners and researchers could be applied successfully in the development of a new network and contribute to the narrowing of the research–practice gap in LIS.

Design/methodology/approach

Overall, 32 members of a new professional network were surveyed by a questionnaire following the completion of a programme of four network events held between 2019 and 2021.

Findings

The analysis demonstrates the transferability of the existing model of network development to a new network and that it can be successfully adapted for online delivery of network events and activities.

Practical implications

The criteria deployed for the evaluation of the new network could be used in other similar settings. Funding bodies can also use these findings as demonstration of the value of their investment in network grants.

Originality/value

This contribution on means of growing collaborative networks to narrow the LIS research–practice gap stands out in contrast with prior research that tends to focus the support of research productivity of academic librarians in North American universities for the purposes of career development. Here wider aspects of research engagement are considered of value for LIS practitioners from a range of sectors and institutions, beyond North America, for purposes that are broader than personal advancement.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 May 2022

Leo Appleton and Hazel Hall

The research was undertaken to explore the role of the UK public library as a public sphere and the ways in which this role relates to the epistemic, community and…

Abstract

Purpose

The research was undertaken to explore the role of the UK public library as a public sphere and the ways in which this role relates to the epistemic, community and political functions of public libraries.

Design/methodology/approach

A longitudinal, multi-location focus group approach was developed and deployed in three phases. Data were collected from 53 active public library users in a total of 24 focus groups conducted in eight different public library services in England and Scotland in 2015–2016 (Phase 1), 2016–17 (Phase 2) and 2017–18 (Phase 3). Data collected were transcribed and coded using NVivo 10- for thematic analysis.

Findings

The public library's role as public sphere aligns closely with its epistemic functions, adding a dimension to information services provision beyond access to “traditional” print and online sources. New information and knowledge emerge through the person-to-person interactions in public library space. Through such exchanges, the community function of public libraries is made evident, notably as a platform for citizens to participate actively in society, including its democratic processes.

Originality/value

Unlike much extant prior work on public library value dominated with accounts of societal and/or economic impact, w hich is frequently based on the analysis of quantitative data, here the fundamental epistemic value of public library services is demonstrated. This research also adds an important perspective to the domain of Information Society Studies where, to date, the place of the public library as public sphere has been treated as peripheral.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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