Practitioner research in libraries: a cross-sectoral comparison

Sarah McNicol


Even when research conducted in public library authorities does not have a major impact on policy, it can be crucial for service development. In Spring 2003, the Centre for Information Research (CIRT) at the University of Central England carried out a series of surveys of public, academic, health, school and special libraries in the British Isles in order to obtain up-to-date information about the research issues of particular interest to staff. This indicated that there is significant interest in research, even among those librarians who are not heavily involved in research activity personally. There were a number of common themes which cut across the different library sectors, including ICT, user needs, accommodation, collections, funding, staffing and co-operation. This suggests that, while sector-specific research is necessary in some areas, in others, cross-sectoral research may help library staff to address the common problems they all face.


public library authorities; research; impact; service development

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