Academic Library Administrators Perceive Value in Their Librarians’ Research
AbstractA Review of:
Perkins, G.H. & Slowik, A.J.W. (2013). The value of research in academic libraries. College & Research Libraries, 74(2), 143-158. Retrieved from http://crl.acrl.org/content/74/2/143.full.pdf+html
Objective – To explore academic library administrators’ perceived value of their librarians’ research, specifically the importance to the profession and the library community.
Design – Qualitative, exploratory study using a survey questionnaire.
Setting – Academic libraries in the United States of America.
Subjects – 23 library administrators.
Methods – During the summer of 2010, one of the authors conducted 20-30 minute telephone interviews with 23 academic library administrators. Interviews were recorded and transcribed for coding. Interview questions 1-3 and 8-19 were content-analyzed; the authors described common themes for each of these questions. Items 4-7 had Likert scale response formats, and a mean and standard deviation were computed for each of these items.
Main Results – The benefits of librarians’ research included fulfilling tenure-track requirements, enriching relationships with teaching faculty, library faculty recognition, improved services and programs, collaboration with others, research result application to daily issues, development as librarians, and improved knowledge of the research field.
The perceived current changes and future issues for university libraries included increased digitization of collections, scholarly communication, and expanded instructional engagement of faculty and students, as well as future economic downturn and budget cuts. Administrators noted several methods that influenced their thinking: professional meetings, reading professional journals, informal discussions with colleagues, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.
Academic library administrators used a variety of methods to support their librarians’ research. These included tenure-track requirements, research incentives, travel funds, grants, sabbaticals, release time, and shared communication about research. Additionally, there was a substantial perceived interrelationship between how librarians’ research benefited the librarian, the library, the university, and the profession. Recognition and new programs and services were thought to benefit all four areas, and monetary rewards were considered benefits for the first three areas.
Conclusion – Based on the sample of 23 academic library administrators, the authors conclude that librarians’ research is perceived as valuable to both the academic and library communities.
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