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Monday, July 01, 2019

Essay, Evidenced-Based Librarianship

Evidenced-Based Librarianship
By Melchor F. Cichon
July, 2019
(Thanks to Herbert Vigo for his editorial help)

 “Evidenced-Based Librarianship” was a lecture delivered by Corazon M Nera, director of libraries of the Lyceum of the Philippines University, during a summer workshop for librarians.
While she was lecturing on this subject, she asked the participants why students make noise in the library. Perhaps surprised by her question, all the participants did not immediately respond.
It took us time to collate five answers: 1. The librarians themselves are noisy. 2. The students have nothing to do; so they talk. 3. Their discussions in the classrooms were not finished; so they continue their discussion or debate in the library. 4. The students are sent to the library by their teachers just so their teachers could do something else; hence all they do is talk 5. The library staff is not strict, if not very lenient.
These perceptions of the librarians could be true or not. To verify them, a librarian should conduct a research to back up their assumptions. This is what evidenced-based librarianship is all about.
Lecturer Nera said that this concept was first used by a medical school in 1968. In 1980, the medical librarians taught various health care professionals how to search Medline, a medical online source, and they developed resources to identify high quality, clinically important studies.
In 1991, evidenced based medicine appeared and was defined as the best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patient. Ms. Nera provided several reasons to use research evidence in library practice, namely: To make the most efficient and effective use of services and resources. To help us plan and evaluate the results of the action. To base funding proposals and ensure funding success. To produce usable evidence after the process. To publish findings.
In addition, she quoted Andrew Booth: "Evidence-based librarianship is an approach to information science that promotes the collection, interpretation, and integration of valid, important and applicable user-reported, librarian-observed, and research- derived evidence. The best-available evidence moderated by users’ needs and preferences is applied to improve the quality of professional judgment."
Although evidence-based librarianship is desirable, it is not that easy for luck of funding, lack of experience, lack of time and support from the administration, and access to peer-reviewed research articles.

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