Guest blog entry: the Modernisation Review of Public Libraries and Research by Guy Daines

Guy Daines, Director, Policy & Advocacy at CILIP (one of the LIS Research Coalition members) has contributed this blog entry on the Modernisation Review of Public libraries. Over to Guy…

Most of you will be aware that DCMS (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) published their Modernisation Review of Public libraries on 22 March. I expect fewer will be aware that there are fifty-four proposals in the report, including a number bearing on research. It was heartening to read an acknowledgement of the need for proper data for management purposes as well as the need for broader evidence of impact for advocacy purposes. “If we are to convince local and national leaders and partner organisations of the value of public libraries” the report notes, “we must produce evidence which connects library use to local and national priorities”.

There are eight proposals relating to research (recommendations 46-54). They include extending the DCMS “Taking Part Survey” to include a wider range of questions on public library use and correlating data from that survey and the CIPFA public library statistics with the Local Government Place Survey (that forms part of the Audit Commission’s comprehensive area assessments) – can any relationship between public library use and the satisfaction of local residents be shown? But even better, it is proposed that a consortium of interested parties is brought together to develop a cross-sectoral approach to research on the impact of public libraries. Another proposal recommends using the Understanding Society Panel study – which explores the socio-economic circumstances and attitudes of 100,000 individuals in 40,000 British households – alongside a longitudinal study of respondents from the Taking Part survey to gain a better understanding of the long-term impact of public libraries. Perhaps at last there is a serious commitment to developing the evidence base needed for public libraries.

All good stuff no doubt. But what if a Labour Government is not re-elected? We can only hope that the seeds of understanding have been sown within the DCMS secretariat and that they will be able to convince a future Minister of the importance of research. Comfort perhaps might be taken from the fact that it is not an area of party political contention.

You can find the DCMS report at:

Coalition conference newsflash 7

Logos of Glen Recruitment, TFPL and Sue Hill Recruitment

The sponsors of the six PhD student places

Thanks to the generosity of three of the leading LIS recruitment firms – Glen Recruitment, TFPL and Sue Hill Recruitment – the LIS Research Coalition is able to offer six sponsored places at its conference at the British Library Conference Centre on Monday 28th June 2010. These will be for PhD students currently engaged in LIS research. Sponsorship will cover the conference fee for each of the six students who win an award.

For further information about the awards, and how to apply, please see the page that details the sponsored conference places for PhD students.

Coalition conference newsflash 6

Registrations for the LIS Research Coalition conference to be held at the British Library Conference Centre on Monday June 28th are now open. We are looking forward to welcoming a broad range of LIS research stakeholders for a productive day on 28th June during which delegates will add to their knowledge of the LIS research landscape, including the work of the LIS Research Coalition, while also increasing their awareness of:

  • the diversity of LIS research opportunities
  • research funding sources
  • potential research collaborators
  • means of increasing the relevance of research efforts
  • avenues for publication of research output
  • research development opportunities for individuals and groups
  • techniques for integrating research activities into everyday work practice

Our speakers and facilitators offer research experience in: public, academic, special and corporate libraries; the health service; business; publishing; consulting; training; charities and higher education. (Further details are given on the main conference page.) Delegates are also offered the option of taking the stage for a 60-second slot by participating in the conference’s “one minute madness” session.

We are also pleased to announce that the specialist events management firm Event Logistics is providing the Secretariat for the conference. The contacts at Event Logistics are Richard Hart and Adele Bates, and they can be contacted at

We are all looking forward to gathering the LIS research community together in London on 28th June.

Coalition conference newsflash 5

Val Skelton

Val Skelton

Val Skelton, editor of Business Information Review, has kindly agreed to join the LIS Research Coalition team as a facilitator at the conference at the British Library Conference Centre in London on Monday 28th June. Val is known to the LIS research community for a variety of information and publishing roles held during a career of over 20 years in the industry. These positions range from the commissioning editor for library and information science at Bowker-Saur to the Head of Training and Learning at TFPL.

New LIS Research Coalition member: Strategic Health Authority Library Leads (SHALL)

The LIS Research Coalition welcomes the Strategic Health Authority Library Leads (SHALL) Group as a new associate member.

The SHALL Group was formed in 2009 and suceeds the National Library for Health (NLH) Co-ordinating Group. The mission of the Group is to support, work, plan and campaign for the excellence of health and social care through evidence-based practice and lifelong learning, by developing and providing high quality knowledge, information and library services. Further information is available on the SHALL web site, currently under development at:

David Stewart, Director of Health Libraries North West, and based in the NW Health Care Libraries Unit in Wigan, is Treasurer of SHALL, and will serve as its representative for the Coalition.

NHS logo

Coalition conference newsflash 4

The latest news from the LIS Coalition conference planning committee is that Michael Stead, e-Services Team Librarian at Bolton Library and Museum Services, has joined the team of LIS Research Coalition conference facilitators. The faciliators at the afternoon sessions on Monday June 28th thus represent four of the main LIS research stakeholder communities: (1) public libraries – Michael Stead of Bolton Library and Museum Services; (2) the corporate sector – Melanie Goody of TFPL; (3) the health service – Anne Brice of the NHS National Knowledge Service; and (4) research funders – Ailbhe McNabola of the Museum, Library and Archives Council. Our two keynote speakers – Professors Andrew Dillon and Charles Oppenheim – represent academia. David Ball of Bournemouth University and Michael Jubb of the Research Information Network, who will be chairing sessions throughout the day, respectively represent academic libraries and research funders. For further information about the conference please see the the Conference 2010 web page.

Professor Andrew Dillon to present opening keynote paper at the LIS Research Coalition Conference 2010

Professor Andrew Dillon

We are delighted to announce that Professor Andrew Dillon will be presenting the opening keynote paper at the LIS Research Coalition conference at the British Library Conference Centre, London, on Monday 28th June 2010.

Andrew Dillon is Dean and Louis T. Yule Regents Professor of Information at the School of Information, University of Texas, Austin where he also holds appointments as Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Information, Risk & Operations Management. Since graduating from University College Cork and Loughborough University, Andrew has held appointments in a multitude of departments or schools, including cognitive science, computer science, instructional systems technology, psychology, management information systems, curriculum and instruction, informatics, and library and information science. He has been an active researcher for 20 years, writing 100+ papers on many aspects of people and their interaction with information technology with emphasis on digital document design, reading and writing, the effect of aesthetics on user response, and the development of reliable and valid design methods.

In his opening keynote presentation at the LIS Research Coalition conference, Professor Dillon will speak on international perspectives of UK LIS research, taking into account the conference themes of evidence, value and impact.

Professor Dillon’s home page is at, and he posts to his blog at

LIS Research Coalition to contribute presentation at IFLA 2010

We learnt this week that our paper proposal for IFLA 2010 has been accepted. The co-authors of the paper are Hazel Hall and Caroline Brazier. Caroline currently serves as the British Library’s representative on the Board of Directors of the LIS Research Coalition, and it is she who will present the paper at the conference in Gothenburg in August 2010.

Entitled ‘Implementing a coordinated and strategic approach to Library and Information Science research: the work of the UK Library and Information Science Research Coalition’ the paper will reflect on what has been achieved in the first 12 months of the Coalition’s implementation. It will make reference to efforts to provide a formal structure to improve access to LIS research in the UK, and to maximise its relevance and impact. It will discuss progress on specific aims related to bringing together information about LIS research opportunities; encouraging dialogue between research funders; promoting LIS practitioner research and the translation of research outcomes into practice; articulating a strategic approach to LIS research; and promoting the development of research capacity in LIS. Of particular interest to IFLA delegates will be the Coalition’s strategies for fostering an interest in LIS research amongst the practitioner community so that the application of outcomes of earlier studies become routine in the workplace, and a greater proportion of practitioners undertake research themselves. Means of building an evidence base dedicated to demonstrating the value and impact of library and information services will also be considered.

Coalition conference newsflash 3

Anne Brice, Associate Director of the NHS National Knowledge Service, has kindly agreed to participate as a facilitator at the Library and Information Science Research Coalition Conference on Monday 28th June 2010 at the British Library Conference Centre.

Anne joins Professor Charles Oppenheim, Dr Michael Jubb, Ailbhe McNabola, and Melanie Goody as one of the confirmed session leaders on the day.

Watch this space for further updates on the Coalition conference including the announcement of the opening keynote speaker.

For further details of the conference please see the Conference 2010 web page. The conference hashtag is #lisrc10.