New research seminar to focus on the future of public libraries

We are often asked how students can get involved with the work that we do here at TASCHA and the US Impact Studies group. During Autumn Quarter 2015, US Impact Studies group’s Samantha Becker is leading a research seminar in the Information School (INFX 571), offering students a chance to get real world research experience by working on our work related to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries Legacy Partners Initiative (LPI). Interested University of Washington students can find more information below.

INFX 571 Research Seminar: The Future of Public Libraries, Autumn 2015 (2 credits)

The INFX 571 research seminar will engage students in projects related to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries Legacy Partners Initiative (LPI), a ten-year program to carry on the Foundation’s work with public libraries and library organizations to support their innovation, sustainability, and ability to contribute to digital inclusion across the world. As an LPI partner, TASCHA will contribute to the initiative by developing and carrying out a policy-driven research agenda; building repositories and data collection, analysis, and visualization tools; and developing new methods for seeding, scaling, and disseminating innovative programs, among many potential activities.

This research seminar will offer students the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of this initiative and participate in shaping the future of public libraries while gaining experience on real world projects with lasting value. The type of work students will engage in will depend on their skill sets and interests, but could include:

  • Gathering and organizing published materials, datasets and documentation, grey literature, and information about institutions and individuals associated with innovative library programs and services; writing summaries and literature reviews about these materials
  • Conducting interviews with library leaders related to research questions about the future of libraries and analyzing results
  • Developing indicators, indices, survey questions, and quantitative analysis plans
  • Designing a prototype data platform which will build on existing tools and data sets to provide visualizations and interoperability between the data elements

Class time will be 3:30pm-5:20pm on Tuesdays. The class is being offered as a hybrid class so online students can participate as well.

Six students will be selected by the research team for this first offering. Please email Samantha Becker, the instructor, at srbecker (at) uw (dot) edu with a short statement about your interest in the course. We expect to continue the seminar in future quarters and may increase opportunities if there is enough interest.

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