Ensuring Library and Librarianship Sustainability: Why Education and Research Matter

In the past decade or so, there have been debates on whether library and librarianship will survive the century and beyond. While these debates are often triggered by the emergence of new technologies and automation, there are different factors that can ensure the sustainability of the field. Two of the core determinants in sustaining both the library sector and the profession of librarian are education and research. This presentation aims to address the importance of these aspects in enabling the sustainability of libraries and librarianship.

The first section highlights librarianship and information studies education for current and future librarians, particularly in relation to workplace expectations. Some relevant work skills such as “professionalism”, “communication”, “problem solving and decision making”, “teamwork”, and “adaptability” (Lim et al., 2020, p. 108) are already embedded in the LIS Education curriculum, mostly implicitly. While inclusion of these skills in curriculum empowers students to meet workplace expectations, making it explicit would help students in implementing them. The second aspect highlighted in this section is a series of challenges that students are not necessarily ready to overcome upon completing their studies. This includes the non-linear continuum between study and work, the time-lag between learning and employment, and the potential disconnect between lessons learned and labour market demands (Johnston, 2017, pp. 20–21). Elaboration and critical analysis on the above two situations will make the first half of this presentation.

The second part focuses on the importance of research in maintaining library and librarianship sustainability. It underscores the pressing need to attend to research and research- and evidence-based practice as vital components in shaping a more relevant, future-friendly, and innovative library and information profession. The talk discusses the transformative potential of research, reminding how it empowers decision-making and equips the field to address contemporary challenges with more pertinent and effective solutions. The talk introduces the barriers that can hinder the integration of research into everyday library and information practices. Additionally, it recommends a series of tangible and actionable strategies to not only encourage but also firmly embed a research culture within the existing library and information practice communities.

The ultimate aim is to foster a flourishing culture of research within the field, ensuring that it enables library and information practitioners to remain dynamic, adaptive, and well-equipped to meet the evolving needs of current and future communities. References: Johnston, N. (2017). Navigating continuous change: A focus on self-direction and skills and knowledge transfer. In T. Bowen & M. Drysdale (Eds.). Work-Integrated Learning in the 21st Century: Global Perspectives on the Future (pp. 19-33). Lim, S., Foo, Y., Yeo, M., Chan, C., Loh, H. (2020). Integrated work study program: Students’ growth mindset and perception of change in work-related skills. International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning, 21(2), 103-115.

Anita Dewi

Lecturer, Charles Sturt University

Author Bio

Anita Dewi is a Lecturer in Information Studies at Charles Sturt University. Her research areas include workplace learning, professional identity, and information literacy. Prior to joining CSU, Anita spent her career as a professional in the academic library sector. The roles she has held in the industry include subject librarian, learning skills advisor, library research and learning coordinator, library liaison coordinator, and library learning services manager.

Ellie Sayyad-Abdi

Senior Lecturer, Curtin University

Author Bio

Ellie Sayyad Abdi is a Senior Lecturer at Curtin University. Her research areas include information literacy (specifically in everyday life and workplace) as well as research-practice integration. Ellie is passionate about exploring how the study of people’s information use can be translated into practical applications, ultimately empowering individuals to make more informed decisions in their lives. A former Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence, Ellie has also excellent experience in teaching, research supervision, learning design and leadership in higher education in Australia and internationally.