University of Northampton Learning and Library Services Conference 2012

Dr Miggie Pickton, editorial board member of Library and Information Research and a keen supporter of the LIS Research Coalition since its establishment, has contributed a guest blog post on a conference for LIS practitioners interested in conducting their own research. Miggie writes:

Hannah Rose (left) and Gillian Siddall (right) encouraging students to participate in their focus groups

Hannah Rose (left) and Gillian Siddall (right) encouraging students to participate in their focus groups

Here in the library at the University of Northampton we don’t just support research activity: we believe in engaging with it ourselves. The last few years have seen a steady increase in the number of Northampton library staff involved in research activity. Whether working in collaboration with partners or pursuing individual goals, the common purpose of all of our projects has been to conduct research that will inform our practice. Only by gathering and using evidence – from literature, theory, policy or practice – can we be sure that we are offering the best possible service to library users.

The use of research to inform practice is the underlying theme of our first departmental conference. This will take place on June 19th 2012. Staff from Library and Learning Services (the department comprises library, learning technology and learning development services) will be speaking on a range of topics: the iconography of the library; new roles for reading lists; the use of mobile apps; research data management, and more. We are also running a poster competition and two sets of ‘minute madness’ presentations. Our aim is to involve as many staff as possible, from all parts of the department. Our intended audience comprises the LIS community and our own service users.

We are particularly proud of our featured presentations. Many of the speakers have already presented their work at national and international conferences and published in a variety of places. Several have successfully competed for funding to support their work. Two of our presenters are the current holders of the LIRG Research Award and two have won university Teaching Fellowships for their work. Not only has their research benefited the service, it has also brought career benefits and increased job satisfaction to those involved.

We have been fortunate at Northampton in that research activity is strongly encouraged by our senior managers. LIS staff are rewarded with opportunities to attend external events and time to write for publication. But the motivation must come from within. To learn more about this, here is an opportunity to meet Northampton’s practitioner researchers.

So we welcome you warmly to our conference.

The full programme is available on our conference web site. If you would like to come along please contact Fiona Maclellan. There is a nominal charge of £30 to cover costs (including lunch).