Discussion paper

Bridging the research / practice divide: research and evaluation at the State Library of New South Wales

5 Sep 2006

As a response to demands for public sector accountability government agencies have started to develop internal research and evaluation capabilities (McDonald, Rogers & Kefford 2003). While the benefits of such practice for libraries include a better understanding of workplace issues and the ability to develop relevant services, evidence to justify current funding or support increased funding and general professional development (Williamson 2002) libraries have generally been slow to follow suit (Powell, Baker & Mika 2002). In this paper presented at the Research Applications in Information and Library Studies Seminar (RAILS 2), Kerrie Burgess suggests that the creation and implementation of the research and evaluation program at the State Library of New South Wales provides an interesting case study in the establishment of a research culture and program within a major public and reference library. A discussion of the program's development, its role within the organisation, two key projects and the program's outcomes illustrate the significant contribution research and evaluation can make to the development, enhancement and review of the contemporary library.

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