I’ve been familiar with QUT Library’s offerings in research support for a while now, having attended the AIRS program as part of my Honours thesis a few years ago. This week’s Twitter chat has definitely made me think about this arm of the library again. Today, QUT offers a suite of programs and services for research support, that extend beyond the AIRS courses. Seeing that the Scholarly Communications Librarian did consultations with academics seeking publishing support, I became very interested.
Now, dear viewer, I’m only telling you this next bit because I trust you. Yes, you too, thousands of anons out there reading my blog. For the past year I have been in negotiations to get an article published – as a book chapter! I cowrote it with my Honours supervisor, and I have kept mum so far because nothing has been signed. However, it sets the scene for my service review quite nicely, so just promise you won’t tell anyone.
I managed to get in contact with Paula, and booked an appointment at quite short notice. She was more than happy to fit me in, and what I originally thought would take 15 minutes actually took closer to an hour. Not because it went badly, I must stress this!
Paula was very good at answering the questions I had about the publishing process. I felt as if she’d had a lot of experience with this area; in fact, lots of different areas. On her desk, I could see a range of folders on topics such as predatory publishers, open access education, and many more topics. It made me think about the variety of skills that research support librarians need to have, across “communication, training and evaluation” (p. 359). She seemed well equipped to instruct any researcher at any point in their academic career.
However, what took up more time in this appointment was her interest in my future academic career. We talked at length about my interest in digital repositories, open access and academic library collections. Paula seemed genuinely pleased that “another academic” was weighing in on this area that she felt deserved more researcher attention. Her passion was so apparent, and I definitely felt good about our chat by the end. Upon reflection, I wonder if she subconsciously planted the PhD seed in my head, particularly the notion of continuing study with QUT. If that was her intention, it would make total sense to me. One of the best financial decisions that an academic research librarian can make is to increase the number of HDR students you have at your institution (p. 78). I’m only Masters level now, but by my own admission a PhD seems inevitable. Am I the sort of HDR student QUT would want to attract?
There is no doubt that research support in academic libraries is experiencing a tremendous change (p. 97). Paula herself is very aware that this is where all the jobs are going to be in university libraries. She describes the consultations as being a very “bespoke” service model well suited to the post grad students and their needs. Assessing my experience on this, and the other points raised above, I think there is sufficient evidence to suggest that QUT Library is moving with the tide on this trend. Luckily, it’s a good wave to ride right now.