WWU librarian explores libraries’ role in publishing
Western Washington University's Rebecca Marrall was recently selected as one of the American Library Association's 2015 Emerging Leaders. According to the American Libraries magazine, the Emerging Leaders program recognizes the “library world’s rising stars” by annually selecting 50 of the “best and brightest” library professionals and paraprofessionals with fewer than five years of library experience to participate in project-planning groups and serve in leadership roles in their profession.
“It’s an incredible honor to participate in this program,” Marrall said. “I was one of only two people selected from the Pacific Northwest region, and the topic I get to explore with my project group is timely, fun, exciting, and challenging.”
Marrall’s project is sponsored by RUSA (Reference & User Services Association), and in addition to Marrall, the team consists of four other Emerging Leaders. Since January 2015, the team has collaborated online and across time zones to explore their project topic: an examination of the role of libraries in the publishing cycle. Marrall explained that although their project title was originally “Library as Publisher,” as the team delved deeper into the research process, it became clear that libraries engage in a wide range of publishing-related activities.
“Once we began working, we discovered that the phrase ‘Library as Publisher’ was actually too limiting because it did not fully address all the roles that libraries fulfill in the publishing cycle,” said Marrall.
The Emerging Leaders team started their work by conducting an environmental scan to create a snapshot of how a variety of different libraries (including public, government, academic, or archival libraries) have been participating in the publishing process. Whether through supporting author research and content creation, publishing both printed and online content, disseminating and curating publications, or promoting best practices by educating content creators about both Open Access and copyright, libraries have become increasingly involved in the publishing process.
“We identified four main aspects of the publishing cycle and realized that many libraries have some sort of role in this cycle. The ubiquity of libraries’ publishing activities is quite profound,” said Marrall.
According to Marrall and her team members, the four service areas where libraries play a role in publishing are: education and instruction; development and editing; product design and production; and marketing and dissemination. Marrall and her team members also conducted a national survey among library professionals about their information needs and library publishing services. The team intends to host a poster session about the Emerging Leaders experience at an upcoming national conference, and then will also share both the results of the national survey and the environmental scan with the Reference & User Services Association Board, who will use the information to determine future directions within the organization. Marrall explained how this project not only provides an opportunity to share information with libraries on a national level, but that it will also be useful locally here at Western.
“I definitely see some overlap with some of the work my Emerging Leaders team is doing and with the work we are doing here at Western Libraries; the findings thus far are certainly relevant to things like CEDAR,” stated Marrall, referring to Western’s institutional repository. “This really is an evolving phenomenon. The 21st-century library is not merely a storehouse for information. It doesn’t mean libraries no longer have that role; rather, it means that libraries have expanded to include so much more.”
Marrall and her team members plan to present their findings to RUSA by July 10, 2015, and then hope to share their results with a wider audience shortly thereafter.
For more information about this project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebecca M. Marrall is the Discovery Services librarian at Western Libraries. In addition to participating in credit instruction and in the Research-Writing Studio, she leads the Resource Discovery Unit and chairs the OneSearch Management Team (the latter being the Libraries catalog interface management working group). After graduating with her MLISc from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa in 2010, Marrall accepted the diversity resident librarian position at Western Libraries. Research interests include diversity and inclusion practices in LIS settings, library instruction and user experiences.