An 'assessment' librarian gave a guest lecture in our research methods class today. What's an 'assessment' librarian you ask? It basically means she constantly does research projects in order to obtain evidence ('assessment') to support policy and service improvements at the university libraries. This all has to do with Evidence Based Librarianship.
What's EBL? I understand it to mean doing research to gather evidence to inform library practice and decision making (which services to offer, what materials to collect, how to organize the space etc.) The Evidence Based Library and Information Practice journal was started by a couple UofA librarians. It's mandate is to "provide a forum for librarians and other information professionals to discover research that may contribute to decision making in professional practice."
There's a really good summary of EBL, and an interesting discussion throughout the comments on this Marcus' World blog post. Two of the prolific commenters are the two librarians who started the EBL journal.
The more I hear about EBL, the more excited I get about doing research. And considering I started with absolutely no desire to do research, that's a big leap.
Actually, after today's guest lecture (which I found interesting and thought provoking, for once), I'm seriously considering taking the Advanced Research Methods class next fall. It makes a bit of sense. I want to be an academic librarian. Academic librarians do research (well, some do anyways). The class might help me get more comfortable with the concept. Perhaps it will make me more marketable in terms of jobs? I made the mistake of checking the course assignments though, and it's pretty brutal (facilitate a 3hour seminar, complete 1 research project in the form of a 20min conference presentation and a publishable paper - yikes!).
I suppose if I pass the Introduction to Research Methods class, then maybe I'll keep thinking about it. Right now I'm going to play Guitar Hero...