On 27 April almost 100 colleagues came together for an interactive virtual seminar and workshop to explore the application of the Technician Commitment to research and academic libraries.
Co-convened by Research Libraries UK and the AHRC, the event included a series of case study presentations and facilitated discussions. It considered the range of library roles that relate to the Technician Commitment, the benefits of library and archive staff seeing themselves within this, and the use of the commitment to advocate for the wider role of academic libraries as leaders and partners in research.
Our speakers included:
- Jessica Gardner, RLUK Chair and University Librarian, University of Cambridge
- Christopher Smith, Executive Chair, Arts and Humanities Research Council
Case study presentations:
The event included four case study from library, archive, and conservation professionals regarding the importance of technical and specialist skills to their role and the application of the Technician Commitment to their professional practice.
- Gary Brannan, Keeper of Archives and Special Collections, Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York
- Claire Knowles, Associate Director, Research and Digital Futures, University of Leeds
- Elisabeth Carr, Collection Care Manager, John Rylands Research Institute and Library
- Dominic Tate, Head of Library Research Support, Library & University Collections, University of Edinburgh
The event also featured a series of interactive discussions through which delegates considered the application of the Technician Commitment within their own institutions. Within small breakout groups, colleagues considered how the Technician Commitment could apply to their own role and professional practice, and the tangible ways in which the commitment might be used to support technical and specialist skills within the academic library community.
The results of these discussions are being collated into a Summary document, which will be the subject of a longer blog to be published shortly.
Research libraries make it happen: The Technician Commitment applied
This event followed the announcement that RLUK have become a named supporter of the Technician Commitment and have published a statement of support regarding the recognition, support, and celebration of technical and specialist skills contained within research libraries.
The event was open to colleagues working across the academic and research library sectors, academic community, and research managers and administrators. It formed part of the joint RLUK-AHRC Research Engagement Programme, which is a direct outcome from the findings and recommendations of the joint AHRC-RLUK scoping study (January-June 2021) regarding the role of academic libraries as partners in, and leaders of, research.
A further, more detailed, blog will be published shortly outlining some of the key conclusions from the session and a summary of next steps that might be undertaken by individual professionals, institutions, the wider academic library sector, and RLUK and AHRC specifically.
Research libraries make it happen: Sprint summary of discussions
This document contains a sprint-written summary of discussions held at the joint RLUK-AHRC event The Technician Commitment and the role of research and academic libraries as centres of technical and specialist expertise, held on 27 April 2022. The event explored the application of the Technician Commitment to research and academic libraries. It considered the range of library roles that can relate to the Technician Commitment, the benefits of library staff seeing themselves within this, and the use of the commitment to advocate for the wider role of libraries as leaders and partners in research.
This summary is written on behalf of colleagues working across the academic library community, the AHRC, and RLUK. It acts as a record of these discussions, as a blueprint for further work, and as a rallying cry for the greater visibility, recognition, support, and advocacy of technical and specialist skills within academic libraries. It is divided between the four pillars of the Technician Commitment regarding the visibility, recognition, career development, and sustainability of technical skills, and recommends actions on behalf of individual professionals, their institutions, the academic library and archive sectors, and RLUK and AHRC.
This summary should be read in conjunction with RLUK’s statement of support of the Technician Commitment.