Library as Research Lab
Engaging graduate students in critical research questions
Information literacy at the graduate level can happen at the intersection of research method education and mentorship into a disciplinary community of practice with its own traditions of inquiry, communication, and knowledge creation. Funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Library as Research Lab Project at the University of Michigan enables graduate students, academic librarians, and information science faculty to engage in a series of research activities together, illuminating tacit knowledge in information studies and librarianship, both as a discipline and as a profession.
In the project, three interconnected labs pursue authentic research questions emerging from challenges faced by the Library while providing School of Information students with mentorship, new skills, and a fellowship stipend. A common curriculum across the labs includes research ethics, publishing, project management, and current issues in higher education research. Engaging with the frames of “Research as Inquiry” and “Scholarship as Conversation” from the Association of College and Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education, students also learn how to effectively discuss, iterate upon, and present their research activities to different audiences. At the end of the fellowship, students enter the profession with an understanding of complex challenges facing libraries and with new strategies for responding to ambiguity and pursuing new solutions through research.
As we complete the final year of the grant, the librarians from the Design Thinking for Library Services Lab will reflect on lessons learned and share student perspectives as a way of discussing how similar initiatives might facilitate positive and critically engaged research projects at other institutions. Attendees will be able to describe strategies for developing similar environments in support of authentic research experiences and will be able to apply strategies documented in a mentoring handbook from the project in their own work.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).