Saturday, February 10, 2007

Research support

For academic librarians, some form of scholarly activity, such as participation in professional associations and research, is usually expected. I engage in both activities. I am active in ALA, serving, for example, on the Reference and User Services Association's president's conference program committee, and as the listserv administrator for the Instruction Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries. I am also collaborating with a colleague at John Brown University in Arkansas on a research project. We finally sent our survey out today to some 600 library directors around the country. This mailing cost a lot of money. (We chose a mailing over e-mail and a Web-based survey for various reasons.) Luckily, he and I have institutional support to cover the cost of this research

My point is, if you looking for academic library jobs out of library school, be sure to inquire about institutional support for scholarly activities, such as research and travel, during your interviews. I know that without my professional development fund at my school, I would not be able to attend ALA conferences to network with other librarians and learn about the new resources and current issues in the profession, nor would I be able to conduct research projects without a significant cost to my pocketbook.

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