We are pleased to welcome our newest Advisory Board member, Scott Walter. Scott is the University Librarian at DePaul University and an adjunct member of the faculty of DePaul’s School of Public Service and of the San Jose State University School of Information. We are excited to work with someone so obviously committed to the research process, as evidenced by his responses to the two questions we asked:
Why are you participating in the IRDL Advisory Board?
I have been involved in research skills training and mentoring for librarians for years, sometimes as an LIS faculty member, sometimes as a book or journal editor, and as the Chair of the ACRL Research Coordinating Committee. In each of those roles, I’ve heard librarians express a desire for more training in research design and for a more active community of practitioners using research to inform and improve their work. With the new interest in library assessment and evidence-informed decision-making in libraries, this need for a professional community focused on building research skills only continues to grow. IRDL presents a successful model for building research skills among practicing librarians and for building a professional community to which its alumni will be able to turn for assistance and support in the future. I hope that participating in the IRDL Advisory Board will give me the tools I need to help to advocate for a sustainable approach to an ongoing program once our initial grant funding has ended.
What impact do you hope IRDL has on the library community?
At the most basic level, I hope that IRDL (and successor programs building on the model) can help to sustain mentoring relationships among librarians conducting research, whether for the purpose of meeting tenure and promotion requirements or for the purpose of supporting evidence-informed decision making in the workplace. At a broader level, I hope that IRDL helps to illuminate the need to address long-standing concerns about research skills training, including the ability to successfully write up and disseminate the results of one’s research, among practicing librarians. At the highest level, though, I hope that IRDL will serve as a model for how professional associations, individual libraries (or library consortia), and LIS education programs can work together to address long-standing gaps in the pre-service professional education offered to librarians, as well as to build continuing professional education programs attuned to the evolving professional environment.