Library and Information Science (LIS) education has been offered at Charles Sturt University and its predecessor institutions since 1975. The School of Information Studies is itself over 30 years old, and is now the only school amongst Australian universities devoted to Library and Information Science education and research. Its 'headquarters' is Building 5 on the Charles Sturt University's Wagga Wagga campus, about 400 km south-west of Sydney, NSW.
The School currently has around 2,000 students enrolled in the Bachelors and Masters of Information Studies, the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) and other specialist courses. It also has fifteen full-time academic staff, teaching and researching in a wide range of LIS subfields, many adjunct and sessional staff, and a large cohort of PhD students.
Eight members of the Libraries Research Group have been awarded an internal research grant to explore the public library response to the COVID-19 crisis. Drs Jane Garner, Simon Wakeling, Hamid Jamali, Yazdan Mansourian, Jessie Lymn, Holly Randall-Moon and Professor Philip Hider are undertaking a national survey of all public library services to gain an understanding of how these libraries have adapted their work in response to the compulsory closures of their physical sites due to COVID-19 restrictions. Supported by the Australian Library and Information Association and the Australian Public Library Alliance, the research also seeks to understand the challenges faced by public libraries as they responded to these closures. A second phase of the research will include a few in-depth case studies. The goal of the project is to explore the role of public libraries in their communities during a national crisis, and to assist public libraries in their preparedness for future events of this nature
Associate Professor Mary Anne Kennan retired on 15 May 2020. Mary Anne joined the School of Information Studies in June 2009. She has had many roles within the School and the university including serving as Associate Head of School for four years and Acting Head of School for several extended periods. Mary Anne was involved in teaching and developing the curriculum in several ways, for example proposing and co-writing an introductory subject for the master’s program and researching and the co-developing the curriculum for the data management specialisation and graduate certificate. Enjoying research and the collaborations associated with it, Mary Anne hopes to continue to be engaged with it in some ways including remaining for a while as the Editor of the Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association (JALIA). She will remain engaged with the School as an Adjunct Associate Professor.
The School of Information Studies visits cities across Australia and internationally with groups of 20-60 students to tour a selection of information agencies. These Study Visits form a core part of our workplace learning program, and offer our students valuable opportunities to see the diversity of information work, and develop peer and professional networks. The School has responded creatively to the current challenges of COVID-19 by moving our unique and significant program of yearly Study Visits into a virtual space.
Our current Virtual Study Visit program has over 100 students attending a selection of eight online sessions with established information professionals, who are giving insight into their current roles and their career journeys. Speakers include librarians and archivists from the academic, health, public, museum and school library sectors, talking about career development, technology, current issues facing their sector and also the impact of COVID-19 on their work. We look forward to further developing our virtual study visit programs and also returning to our face-to-face visits when possible.
Congratulations to Claire Sadler, this year’s winner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scholarship sponsored by the Australian Library and Information Association. Claire has just started her Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) degree, and is excited about receiving this award. She says that she hopes to be a positive role model for the Indigenous students that she may end up teaching, and plans to use some of the award to purchase a new laptop as well as to support herself during the work placement element of the course.
The Libraries Research Group has launched its website, which includes a list of projects its members are presently undertaking, and various other details. The Group received $20,000 of internal grant funds last year and has identified two overarching themes for its work over the next three years: the ‘value of libraries’ and ‘making collections more visible’.
The School and supervisors Associate Professor Mary Anne Kennan, Dr Bob Pymm and Professor Annemaree Lloyd congratulate Dr Helen Reid who graduated in December 2019 with her PhD titled “Learning on the Job: Librarians Keeping Up to Date with Emerging Technologies”. Helen’s research explores the practice of workplace learning about emerging technologies in academic libraries using an action research method and a practice theoretical approach. Results demonstrate that lack of time and opportunities to share and build knowledge constrain learning. Allocation of time, management support and common understandings about learning and technology enable it.
Dr Helen Reid, Dr Mary Anne Kennan and Dr Bob Pymm after the graduation ceremony.
PhD student Bec Muir has received an Outstanding Reviewer Award for her contribution to the International Journal of Information, Diversity, and Inclusion in 2019, while Prof Philip Hider has received one for his contribution to The Indexer. Philip has reviewed manuscripts for a range of Library and Information Science journals over the years, and enjoys contributing to the scholarly process in this way, but this is the first such award he’s received!
The 2019 Jean Arnot Memorial Fellowship from the State Library of NSW was awarded to Josephine Laretive, a recently graduated student of the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship). The fellowship is named in honour of the late Jean Fleming Arnot, MBE, FLAA, a former staff member of the State Library of New South Wales. The fellowship is awarded to a female librarian or student of librarianship for an outstanding paper of no more than 5000 words on any aspect of librarianship. The paper submitted was titled 'Information literacy, young learners and the role of the teacher librarian' and was awarded at the Jean Arnot Memorial Luncheon at NSW Parliament House. Josephine commented: ‘Commitment to learning and completion of the Master of Education Teacher Librarianship at Charles Sturt University has provided me with strength and direction to adapt and allowed me to enhance my commitment as a teacher librarian. I look forward to what is ahead.’
Josephine Laretive (R), with her mother.
The School of Information Studies congratulates Dr Waseem Afzal who has won a research grant funded by the Australian Department of Defence. The research project “Understanding the role of properties of information in shaping violent extremism: Enhancing the cognitive base of the Army’s Intellectual Capital” will examine (1) the role that different properties of information play in shaping extremist content, (2) will identify generalizable information strategies underlying different extremist groups’ propaganda, and (3) will propose information strategies to counter extremist information warfare. We look forward to reading about the results!
The Australasian Conference on Research Applications in Information and Library Studies (RAILS) was duly hosted by SIS on 28-29 October at CSU’s campus in Canberra. The conference theme, “Towards critical information research, education and practice”, was picked up in a wide range of ways by presenters. Sixty participants from eight countries attended; there were 39 papers (six presented by SIS staff and students), three posters, three keynotes and one panel. RAILS 2020 will be hosted by Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.
Above - Welcome reception and Keynote Speaker Mike Jones at RAILS 2019.
The Faculty of Arts and Education at CSU has formed a Libraries Research Group, to build on the University’s strengths in the field of Library and Information Science. Nine of its twelve foundation members are academics from the School of Information Studies. The group will focus on the ways in which library and information services can be improved, and library collections enhanced, as well as the role of libraries and librarianship in contemporary society. Aligned with the University’s Research Narrative of developing flourishing communities, the Libraries Research Group will address priority issues for libraries and their managers, helping to ensure that library services meet the needs of the communities they serve and contribute to a better informed, and more information literate, citizenry. The Group has been awarded $20,000 of start-up funding from the Faculty and held its first meeting on 27 September by videoconference.
The six members of the group in attendance in Wagga are pictured .
(L-R: Drs Mansourian, Jamali, Lymn, Hider, Afzal and Wakeling).
Dr Hamid Jamali of the School of Information Studies was cited as field leader for Australia in the field of Library and Information Science based on Google Scholar data in the list of Australia’s top researchers 2019, published in the Australian Higher Education Supplement of the 25 September 2019. The table of results can be found within the following article which notes that Professor Sharynne McLeod, also of CSU is world leader in her field of audiology https://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/australias-researchers-are-top-of-the-world/news-story/da49e9723818fde2d28ce7a9d08f538c?btr=5ca2f8776dc8da4ab6efbc346f3064de