Expanding Access to Research Training for Academic Librarians

Loyola Marymount University’s William H. Hannon Library has received a federal grant that will expand the availability of the successful research training and mentoring program for novice librarian-researchers, the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL), over three years to develop and host a new online continuing education program for academic librarians.

The $248,299 grant, from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will transition the proven in-person training experience to a sustainable synchronous online format (“IRDL Online”). Each year for three years, IRDL Online will provide 30 academic librarians with research training and mentorship. To further cultivate the growing community of practice of librarian-researchers, IRDL will expand its speaker series and create an online research conference as part of the program. The speaker series and research conference will be free to attend and open to all.

“We are grateful that the IMLS identified IRDL Online as a funding priority, so that we can continue to offer the continuing education and mentoring experience to librarian-researchers from across the United States. Moving to an online environment will allow us to engage with more scholars than ever, contributing to a flourishing community of practice,” said Marie R. Kennedy, serials and electronic resources librarian and project director. Kristine Brancolini, dean of the library, developed IRDL with Kennedy and serves as project co-director.

With this new grant, previous IRDL scholars will work alongside LMU librarians in the development of the speaker series and with partners in the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC) to plan and offer annual online research conferences. Additionally, the online format for new scholars will address the stated needs of academic and research librarians to strengthen research skills and increase research productivity, while also offering attendees the ability to participate without traveling to Los Angeles.

“IRDL Online supports and expands the DEI objectives that were established for IRDL in 2014,” said Brancolini. “We are committed to prioritizing librarians of color in the selection of scholars and to emphasizing DEI issues in our speaker series and our research conference. Our goal is to support the research proficiency and productivity of all librarians.”

Launched in 2014, the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship is a continuing education program for academic and research librarians designed to prepare novice researchers for careers as librarian-researchers. IRDL provides to novice researchers social science research training during a week-long summer workshop, followed by a year of support in completing a research project of their design. This past year, IRDL launched an online speaker series. More information can be found at library.lmu.edu/irdl/

“As pillars of our communities, libraries and museums bring people together by providing important programs, services, and collections. These institutions are trusted spaces where people can learn, explore and grow,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “IMLS is proud to support their initiatives through our grants as they educate and enhance their communities.”

The Institute for Research Design in Librarianship Online is a partnership among the William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University, the School of Information at San José State University, and the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium.