we work together just not in the same building

Jo and I live and work over 1000 kilometres from each other, but when Jo suggested submitting a joint application for the research scholarship I didn’t hesitate to say yes. The last time I collaborated on a project online was maybe ten years ago at uni and that was torturous. We were studying distance, but I didn’t know the other students and there were varying degrees of commitment to the subject. It was all pre-twitter, pre-interactive online communities. But Jo? We’re old twitter buddies. We both love Elvis. How could this not work?
We email a little. We work on the same documents in googledocs. We share articles on dropbox. We skype regularly. And then we tweet about stuff and chart our journey here on wordpress.
Do you work with someone, just not in the same building? How’s it going for you?

Our Research Project

Embedding readers advisory in professional practice as a key collaborative strategy in Queensland public libraries  

It is the intention of our research to establish a collaborative network for Queensland public library staff to share information and expertise, to recommend inclusion of RA in position descriptions, to communicate the value of readers advisory as a core library role, to share RA content and strategies, and for Queensland strategies to articulate to interstate sharing and into a national strategy.  We have planned online meetings with key readers advisory staff in New South Wales, Victoria and other states and a research visit to Auckland Libraries to work further with staff there who practice readers advisory.

Readers Advisory (RA) is identified as a public library service in the Standards and Guidelines for Australian Public Libraries but even in this National Year of Reading (NYR12) some Queensland public library services have been unable to or have not trained staff, identified RA in their strategic planning, identified RA in position descriptions, participated in national NYR12 programs, or offered RA as a service.

We believe that having trained staff working together to offer a quality RA service across Queensland public libraries is a strategic step towards library futures, both generally, and to support national developments that arise from National Year of Reading.


  • Establish collaborative partnerships between public libraries, and collaborative networks amongst public librarians to support delivery of RA in public libraries,
  • To support a central knowledge base – with an online public research space and RA groups (form will emerge from research)
  • Share information and resources on best practice RA, including incorporation of RA in professional practice (position descriptions, strategic planning, ongoing training)
  • Promote international collaboration on RA through promotion of NYR12 to New Zealand public library staff
  • Provide recommendations to Queensland public library services where implementation will ensure public libraries are seen as the place to go for expertise and reading services, and will ensure libraries are key organisations in national developments post-NYR12.

so much reading to be done

One of the first jobs on our to-do list was to start a literature review. We’re adding citations of what we find into our Googledocs online. MPOW’s staff collection of books and journals is right outside my office. One of the staff mercifully weeded the collection recently and all of a sudden I could see shelves worth of journals that I knew would have relevant articles.

I’ve started with Auslib’s APLIS journals and have found two highly relevant papers both from 2008 – one from Vicki Darling (NZ) and the other from Dr Alan Bundy (Australia). The Auslib conference proceedings from that year feature some interesting papers, particularly as they advocate Australia plan for a national year of reading  – so you can see there were results!

I’ve started searching library journal articles through databases. I’ve only just begun though – I did get stuck into the handy print journals first. I’d like to find more in Australian Library Journal. Happy find: more of Paul Brown’s articles on his Best Sellers© readers advisory training. Have you seen Paul’s slideshare from 2011?

If you’ve had an article published on the subject of readers advisory professional practices, I’d love for you to share the link with us.