Building on three years of achievement: the next stages for the LIS Research Coalition community

Dr Michael Jubb

Dr Michael Jubb

Dr Michael Jubb, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Library and Information Science Research Coalition, has contributed the last of our guest blog posts. Here he reflects on the achievements of the LIS Research Coalition over the past three years, and looks to the future. Michael writes:

This will be the penultimate blog post on the LIS Coalition site in its current form. So it’s time to celebrate the Coalition and its achievements, to thank everyone who has been involved in its work, as well as to say a little about what happens next.

The Coalition was established in 2009, as a three-year project funded by the British Library (BL), the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), and the Research Information Network (RIN). Its key aims have been to bring together information about LIS research opportunities and results; to encourage dialogue; to promote practitioner research and the translation of research outcomes into practice; and to promote the development of research capacity. None of us who were involved in setting it up could have foreseen how well the Coalition would succeed in fulfilling those objectives. It has built bridges between research and practice, especially for the academic and medical library communities, and encouraged research-led practice which both enhances the value of research and improves the efficiency and effectiveness of library services.

The DREaM project has been particularly successful in expanding the range of skills for a significant number of LIS researchers, and in developing a network of researchers who can and will work together for the future. The concluding conference for the project on 9 July 2012 was an inspiring event. Work is currently underway to seek follow-on funding for the project so that its success can be extended, particularly in the public library sector.

The two RiLIES projects have explored the extent to which LIS research projects influence library practice in the UK, and the factors that enhance or hinder such influence; and a series of good practice and support materials have been produced.

None of this could have been achieved without the support of all those who have been involved in the Coalition: the members and associates who provided the funding and active engagement and support, but also all of those who have participated and engaged with the Coalition’s work, its events, its projects and its communications. But above all, we need to give thanks to Hazel Hall, who has brought to the job of Executive Secretary all the skill, energy and verve that we could possibly have expected. How she managed to do it all in two days a week – even with some able assistance from Stephanie Kenna – is beyond comprehension. The achievements of the Coalition are largely down to her and her indefatigable efforts on its behalf.

All those achievements will have a life long after the Coalition has ceased to function in a formal sense. I am confident that the communities and relationships that have been forged will continue; and the British Library is going to help to ensure that they do. The current web site will be archived under the Library’s web harvesting programme. But the Library will also create new LIS research resource pages on the BL website, along with facilities for communication via a blog and Twitter. So now it’s up to you to make sure that what the Coalition has created continues as an active community for the future.

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