Research at the Radical Librarians Collective in London

We received the following request via one of the delegates for the gathering on Saturday. If you are uncomfortable with being observed for research on the day, please approach one of the organisers or Katherine in person so that we are aware of your concerns. The priority is to ensure that everyone is able to attend whichever session they wish without being made to feel uncomfortable. To that end, Katherine has agreed not to conduct any observations in sessions where people have made it clear they are uncomfortable with her doing so. We will reinforce this once more on the day.

The Radical Librarians Collective

Hi! I’m an MA student studying Librarianship at the University of Sheffield doing research on the effects of marketisation in UK HE libraries. I’m really interested in engaging in the attempts that are being made to counter these trends by groups such as RLC.

My working title is “Resisting Neo-Liberalism: The challenge of activist librarianship in the UK HE context.”

As well as carrying out semi-structured interviews with a variety of library workers and academics in the future, I would also like to carry out some unintrustive observations at RLC on Saturday, and therefore would like to let you all know of my plans, so that you opt out if you aren’t comfortable!

–          In accordance with the University’s Research Ethics Policies, these observations would not encroach on the privacy of any individuals and no individuals would be identifiable from my observations. I will not use anyone’s names or place of work (unless anyone would really like to be named!) but rather will be anonymising names to categories when it comes to interpreting the data. Rather than using individual pseudonyms, by anonymising to categories (eg. subject librarian, library assistant etc) there is no risk of it being possible for readers to link up quotations to ascertain who might have said what. With categories, several individuals’ quotes will be scrambled up together, so your confidentiality is guaranteed.

–          I am happy to make myself known as a student researcher (as well as aspiring radical librarian!) at the start of the camp, and to give people the opportunity to refuse consenting to being included in any observations. If anyone has any problems with my presence at any of the workshops, I’ll go to a different one so as not to inconvenience their enjoyment of the day.

–          Observations will be mainly noting down the events of the day, workshops/speeches delivered, and pertinent contributions and discussions.

–          Data may be collected via voice recording on a Dictaphone, (if I can get hold of one/a smart phone before Saturday…) or through observations noted by hand.

–          Following collection, all paper copies will be kept in a secure locked room and data held digitally will be saved on a password protected university drive, password protected laptop hard drive, and backed up on a usb which will also be kept in a secure locked room.

–          Data will not be shared with third parties and any reuse will only be by me for future research.

I would be happy to provide additional information on my research if you would like, as well as the results of my research once it’s completed.

I also just want to reiterate that I have chosen this to be my topic of research because it’s something that concerns and excites me, and I don’t consider myself an outsider observing RLC proceedings, but rather as a contributor. With that in mind I really hope nobody feels uncomfortable by my observations, and would be happy to chat to anyone who might have concerns!

Cheers, and see you Saturday!



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