The editorial team at The Librarian Parlor is proud and humbled to share that we have received a 2021 Institute of Museum and Library Sciences 21st Century Laura Bush Librarian grant to expand our work by creating LibParlor Online Learning: An Open and Interactive Curriculum for LIS researchers. We are thrilled to take the insight and lessons we have learned from the LibParlor community the last four years and work with you all to create a resource that will share information, develop skills, connect researchers, and enhance research in the field.
Chelsea Heinbach will be serving as the PI and will be supported by the rest of the editorial team — Nimisha Bhat, Hailley Fargo, and Charissa Powell. This grant will be housed at UNLV and we are thankful that our institutions, Smith College, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, and Northern Kentucky University, will support our work on this project during the next three years.
What is LibParlor Online Learning?
LibParlor Online Learning (LPOL) will be a free, open-source online curriculum of learning modules with readings and activities that will build capacity for academic Library and Information Science (LIS) professionals to conduct and publish rigorous original research. Many professional development opportunities for improving research skills for library workers are cost prohibitive, while LPOL’s modules will be made freely available to everyone who wishes to use them. By making our resource freely available LPOL aims to democratize the often privileged information around research and publishing in order to diversify LIS literature.
The idea from LPOL came from our work on LibPalor and with you, our readers and writers, over the past four years. We know that LIS professionals face challenges equally accessing knowledge, community, and finances when attempting to conduct the research necessary to inform their work or earn tenure. Formal research methods courses are not required in all MLIS programs, leading to an uneven knowledge base among professionals interested in conducting research as they enter the field. We’ve noticed through our work with LibParlor that this impacts early-career librarians in particular, ultimately leading to missing voices, perspectives, and solutions in the field.
What do the next three years look like?
LPOL will consist of three phases, each about a year in length. This is a big picture overview and we are excited to share more information in the coming months.
- Needs planning & assessment
- Working with our community to identify the needs, challenges, and current gaps. We will be seeking feedback in a variety of ways and through various channels.
- Curriculum creation & assessment
- Based on the needs identified in phase 1, we will work with experts to help build LPOL. Throughout this process, there will be opportunity to provide feedback and insight as it all comes together.
- Implementation, piloting, and outreach of curriculum
- Our time to put LPOL into the world. We’ll be seeking members of our community to pilot the curriculum and provide feedback we’ll use before launching LPOL to the field.
How can I get involved?
LibParlor has been built and informed by our community and we believe you all are integral to the success of LPOL. Our hope is to provide regular updates on the LibParlor platform about both the project and processes around having a grant. We do have a short interest form that you can complete if you’d like to receive direct emails containing updates and opportunities for providing feedback. We really hope you’ll want to be involved with this project!
A final note of thanks
Submitting this grant was a team effort and we are so appreciative of the many colleagues who provided insight and feedback to us throughout this process. We’d like to thank our Advisory Board: Erin Ackerman, Jason Clark, Dr. Rachel Fleming-May, Joelle Pitts, and Zara T. Wilkinson. We also like to thank Trudi Jacobons and Grace Therell for their letters of support. We also like to thank Cory Lampert, Rosan Mitola, Marie Kennedy, Thomas Padilla, Linda Hofschire, and Scott Young for sharing insight and support during the application process.
We hope LPOL will be an opportunity to discuss common challenges and bring together the expertise in our field to address them through a supportive, reflective, flexible, open, and accessible resource. We can’t wait to learn from all of your extensive expertise and thoughtful questions.