Maynooth University Library and publishers Taylor & Francis sponsored an academic writing award to mark the launch of the 2016 themed issue of New Review of Academic Librarianship (NRAL) and the launch of a virtual Irish issue - contributions to NRAL from Irish librarians during the past seven years - at Maynooth University on 20 October 2016.
The award - sponsored by Taylor & Francis and Maynooth University Library - supports the publication of an Irish academic paper in the area of librarianship. Dr Jessica Bates and Geraldine Delaney from Ulster University were the recipients of the award.
Below is a guest post from Geraldine Delaney outlining the planned article for NRAL.
Doctoral students and their use of the university library.In October 2016, myself and co-author Dr Jessica Bates discovered we had won the Maynooth University Library/New Review of Academic Librarianship Award for Academic Writing sponsored by Taylor & Francis. This prize was to support publication of an Irish academic library paper in 2016/17. We are honoured to be the recipients of this award.
The proposed article developed from my Master’s research which looked at doctoral students and their use of academic library services at Ulster University. I felt the research was timely, given the increasingly competitive nature of the research environment, and the need for academic libraries to expand their remit to better supporting research students. The aim of the research was to investigate the current and future needs from the library service for researchers, and identify graduates’ information literacy needs training, in light of new practices. I also hoped to establish current levels of engagement, identify barriers to full exploitation of the service and gaps in current service provision. The research questions were three-fold:
· What were students’ current use and experiences of their academic library at Ulster University?
· What was their perception of the library’s role in their research, and what other services might they benefit from?
· And how might the library better engage with graduates to sustain better relationships?The study focused on first year PhD students at Ulster University and the methodology included an online survey and a small group of interviews. The research showed that despite continuing budgetary constraints, the library is considered effective in its support of these researchers. The library’s online service is crucial to them, as they increasingly engage solely online, but the research does identify new functions where the library can place itself, in order to be pertinent to these students.
We are now looking forward to writing up the article for publication in the New Review of Academic Librarianship. The award includes mentorship to help with the preparation of the article and it will be great to have that support. I am sure it will help make the paper robust and interesting.Winning the award is a boost to my confidence as a librarian and researcher. Although I have my MSc in Library and Information Management, like many other newly qualified library and information professionals, I am in a non-professional post, so this is a great way of developing myself both in personal and professional terms and it also enables me to give something back in terms of sharing the research findings.
I would like to thank the judging panel, Maynooth University Library, the New Review of Academic Librarianship, and Taylor & Francis for the award and the opportunity that it presents.Gerry Delaney, November 2016