The education and training role of Australian academic librarians

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Academic librarians in university libraries perform many different roles. For many librarians, this includes a role in the education and training of university students, faculty staff and/or colleagues in areas related to research, libraries and information. There are complex historical, societal, geographic, institutional and personal contexts that contribute to academic librarians’ understandings and conceptions of their education and training role. Using role theory as a framework to define the concept of role, and phenomenography as an underpinning approach and research methodology, in-depth interviews with 38 Australian academic librarians in the Australian State of Victoria were undertaken in 2019 to explore librarians’ conceptions of their educative role. Interview transcripts were analysed according to phenomenographic methods, enabling the emergence of four qualitatively different conceptions of the academic librarians’ educative role. The educative role can be mapped across one or more of the following four spectra: an unexpected/expected role, a transactional/educational role, a role that operates as a site of completed/continuous learning, and a role to be accepted/rejected as part of a librarian identity. The relationships between these conceptions, the performance of education and training duties, and qualifications in teaching and training were also explored and are documented in this thesis. These contextual factors were found to influence the conceptions of academic librarians in different ways. The relationship between contexts and conceptions is dynamic, co-constructed and relational. Research participants’ conceptions were not fixed, but moved back and forth between positions on each spectrum at different times, in relation to the influence of different contexts. The greater understanding of academic librarians’ conceptions of their educative role provides opportunities to influence Library and Information Science education, inform recommendations for employers and prompt Australian academic librarians to reflect on their role and practice, all of which may contribute to better learning outcomes for university library users.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Carroll, Mary, Principal Supervisor
  • Kennan, Mary Anne, Co-Supervisor
  • Combes, Barbara, Co-Supervisor
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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