Using participatory action research methodology for the development of academic librarians e-book competences
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Aim. The aim of the study is to understand how to improve librarians’ competences in order to develop an e-book service, in an active and reflective participative process. Objectives of the research are to explore librarians’ opinions, to identify their learning needs and to find effective ways to improve competences in an Italian state university. Background. Digital library services require a continuous development to fit evolving needs of users. Librarians need to continuously develop their competences. As far as e-book are concerned, there are universities without any active digital e-book service. The research involved librarians who could not follow a formal learning course and explored their possibilities of improving competences with informal and non-formal learning. Methodology. The research project is very bounded to the context and participants’ opinions need to be explored with qualitative methodology. The research method is Participatory Action Research (PAR), a recurrent five-phase cycle - Analysis, Plan, Action, Evaluation, Reflection/Sharing - that joins enquiry and reflective practice on action. Discussion. Each phase has been discussed with categories emerged from collected data, underlining evidence of participants’ contribution in order to analyze the situation, plan and respond actively, and finally evaluate outcomes. The processes of reflection and sharing opinions concerned not only the research topic but also the research method. This resulted in unexpected outcomes, and in tangible developments which were then outlined in following working projects. Conclusion. Participants mentioned competences included in broader categories such as Technical, Content selection, Purchase, Management and use. They suggested and put in action informal and nonformal learning ways to develop e-book competences. They have become more aware about the topic and, moreover, PAR process led them also to a personal development. PAR is recommended to be used as a research process that fosters learning outcomes and personal and professional development.
Joint Master Degree in Digital Library Learning (DILL)