LISDIS 2016 – part two!

This post continues our round up of the second LISDIS conference. For part one see here….

After lunch, there were two guest speakers giving parallel sessions.  Emma Coonan, editor of the Journal of Information Literacy, returned again to speak on the publication process. Having given a very similar talk at last years LISDIS, please see our LISDIS 2015 post if you’d like to know more about Emma’s workshop.

The other parallel workshop was from Claire Sewell, who spoke about carrying out research within the workplace. The session first posed the question ‘why do research?’ With responses including

  • solve problems
  • for stakeholder engagement
  • enhance your career
  • evidence based practice
  • allow others to learn from your experiences

However, the session also noted that there are barriers to research, such as lack of time and lack of support and resources.

Thinking about your outcome is a good way to start forming your research questions – it is important to know where you want to go in order to get there. However, Claire noted that you cannot allow what you want the results to be to influence your research.

The session highlighted key research skills. These include the ability to manage time effectively, being able to take criticism, communication skills and neutrality.

The workshop focused on workplace research, and noted that there are some key benefits to carrying out research in your own workplace. Including insider knowledge and the ability to influence policymaking/organisational culture and structure. However, there are also downsides, including the risk of discovering unpopular results!

Claire then had attendees make a research plan as a good way of crystallising what she had discussed in the session.

 

Following on from the parallel sessions, and after a coffee break, the final section of the day began. The theme of this section was ‘challenging ideas within LIS’ and featured two speakers.

The first, Diana Hackett, talked about information literacy in the narrative of UK Public libraries.

Diana started by establishing some definitions of information literacy, including it being ‘a basic human right’. Diana’s research was inspired by a gap in the narrative of public libraries for information literacy. Referencing the Public Libraries and Museums act of 1964, Diana explained there was certainly a precedent for public libraries to be providing support with information literacy but that the concept was widely missing from research into public libraries or advocacy about public libraries.

Diana concluded that better collaboration between public and academic librareis is needed. There is often an ‘us vs them’ distinction between the aims and provisions of different sector libraries but fostering more collaboration would be beneficial to all, especially when it comes to advocating for information literacy. Essentially a change in the narrative is required! You can follow Diana on Twitter @BeetleBook

The final speaker of the day was Katherine Quinn, whose dissertation looked at activist librarianship and resisting neoliberalism in the context of UK HE libraries. This included a case study of the Radical Librarians Collective  who you should definitely check out if you’ve not heard of.

Katherine’s research looked at theory, specifically Gramsci’s concept of hegemony (an a very accessible way might we add!) and how this has had an influence in LIS. Specifically the way many libraries have become marketised, run as businesses and the impact this has had upon librarianship. This is something that RLC specifically work against and as such made for a fascinating case study to complement the theoretical framework of the dissertation.

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Katherine concluded that although she perhaps would not have chosen such a combative title had she written the dissertation now, there is definitely need for activist librarianship in the UK and that the LIS community should resist hegemony by exploring more horizontalist ways of doing.

Finally, there was a closing session where all members of the panel were invited back to answer questions. This gave the audience an opportunity to ask the questions that they;d not had time for during the course of the day and as a nice way to round out the day. Unfortunately neither of us were able to make the post-conference pub trip so we cannot comment on how the rest of the evening went down, but we would like to say another huge thank you to the organising committee for organising the day and managing to provide a great venue and catering whilst still keeping the conference free. As new professionals, and as a network which aims to help aspiring/new professionals, we are passionate about keeping the cost of CPD low where possible and absolutely grateful that the team managed to make the event so financially accessible!

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