If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – African proverb
A few years ago I approached the dean of our library (Kristine Brancolini) with an idea to develop an institute for research design for librarians. I had been inspired by the work done in this area in anthropology (http://nersp.nerdc.ufl.edu/~ufruss/documents/bernard%202008%20history%20of%20methods%20camp.pdf) and reasoned that the model of bringing together professionals for an intensive training and networking experience would have similar success for librarians.
Kris and I launched a national survey in December 2010 to assess how confident librarians perceived themselves to be in conducting research and to discover if continuing education training in research design was desired by our peers. The survey of academic and research librarians, open for only two weeks right before the turn of the calendar, received over 900 responses. The responses spoke loudly to us that librarians felt prepared to consume research (reading the literature) but were not confident in conducting research and disseminating the results. We published the results of that research in College & Research Libraries (Kennedy, Marie R. and Kristine R. Brancolini. 2012. “Academic Librarian Research: A Survey of Attitudes, Involvement, and Perceived Capabilities.” College & Research Libraries 73(5): 431-448.) and used the results as the basis for the language of our grant proposal.
We moved forward with constructing a grant to pursue the creation of an institute and were recently awarded a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians Program continuing education grant, from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The title of the three-year grant, and the name of our project moving forward, is the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship. Over the next three years we will welcome 63 Scholars to the Loyola Marymount University campus for two weeks, for an interactive, hands-on training in research design. The Scholars will be co-taught by two lead instructors (Greg Guest, a social sciences researcher; Lili Luo, a faculty member at the School of Information and Library Science at San Jose State University), complemented by an instructor noted in the online teaching community (Michael Stephens, also a faculty member at the School of Information and Library Science at San Jose State University). We have a fantastic team, comprised of our partner groups and Advisory Board, as well as a set of colleagues at LMU who are ready to help us launch the inaugural institute in the summer of 2014.
Here is the announcement of the grant, taken from the IMLS web site:
Loyola Marymount University, William H. Hannon Library – Los Angeles, CA
Grant: Laura Bush 21st Century Librarians Program – Continuing Education
Loyola Marymount University and its partners, the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science and the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium, will implement a professional development program and support system for 63 novice academic and research librarians, especially working post-MLS/MLIS librarians. The program is designed to increase the number of librarians with specific skills in conducting research and disseminating the results. Each year 21 librarians will receive instruction in research design and a full year of support to complete a research project at their home institutions. This includes a nine-day, summer Institute for Research Design in Librarianship, supplemented with pre-institute learning activities and a personal learning network that provides ongoing mentoring.