Does your research (or lack there of) influence your instruction?

Man Wearing Black and White Stripe Shirt Looking at White Printer Papers on the Wall

This thought popped into my head today and I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on this.  Bear with me while I give you a bit of my background.

I work at a small college where all the librarians, including me, have multiple roles: subject liaisons, collection development in multiple formats, reference desk shifts, committee work in the library and on campus, as well as instruction.  The degree to which we engage in these things can vary based on the roles we were hired into and/or how our positions have developed and changed over time.  Needless to say, we all have plenty to do.  My current position focuses primarily on electronic resources and systems, but I am also expected to take reference shifts and teach the occasional instruction session.  Some of my colleagues here, to their credit and their respective roles, teach much more.  I do take my teaching seriously, and even graduated from the ACRL Immersion Program a few years back.  Another piece to this is that for tenure, which I have had for several years now, we were not required to publish.  Instead, we are required to be involved in the library profession on local, state-wide, and/or national committees that sustain and support the efforts of all librarians.  This is a responsibility I take seriously and have not reduced upon being granted tenure.

Given this context,  here is my question: As a library research instructor, is my ability to teach the research process hampered in any way(s) by the fact that I do not do regular research (and subsequently writing & publishing), and have not since I graduated from library school in 2006?  Because I am not an active researcher, could that, in any way, limit my understanding of the challenges that undergraduate, graduate, and faculty researchers struggle with?  If the answer is yes, and I worry that it might be the case, do other librarians who teach research sessions worry that this is true?

On the flip side of this, if I worked to become come a regular researcher and writer would it have a positive influence on my instruction?  How would it influence the way that I teach?  Or change the way that I teach?

My head is full of questions now.  I would love to hear what other library instructors think on this.  Is this a crazy idea or is there some substance to this?  And is there any easy way to remedy this issue, if there is a need for one?  Could I fold research in with all the work that I already do?

Image from pexels.com.

 

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Faculty member makes library subscription a condition of hire

So yesterday I learned about a faculty member who recently made a particular request a condition of their hire to a college.  I will admit that although I am unaware of the practice it is possible that this is common.  The sticky part of this situation, as I understand it, is that the hiring committee agreed to this condition.  It was that the college subscribe to a particular professional association.  The subscription is about $2400 a year.  And apparently the expectation is that this $2400 a year will come out of the library’s budget.  However, no library staff were on this hiring committee and no one in the library was consulted about this prior to it being agreed to.  After many conversations regarding this by the library director, apparently the library is still expected to pay that $2400 each year.  Just to appease the inclinations of one faculty member.  So why wasn’t the director consulted earlier?  Why didn’t anyone bother to ask if the library had the money in their budget for this?  And here we are in 2014, on the heels of recession, when libraries are desperately trying to make the most of their existing budgets and having to make extremely tough decisions on which resources to cut because there just isn’t enough money for everything.  And yet, some folks, in another part of the college, who clearly don’t understand what kinds of budget constraints their library is undergoing, agree to impose a new $2400 line item on that already strained budget.  Forgive me.  I’m confused.  How is this ok?  Again, maybe I am unaware of a common practice on other campuses.  But, how is it ok for individuals, who do not have control over the library’s budget, to decide how it is spent?  And seemingly to please just one person?  And how many people, beyond this one, will this benefit?  That remains to be seen.  And why isn’t this subscription cost coming out of this particular department?  I fail to understand how this is fine to do.  Would students in all the other departments, besides the one that decided this, be happy about such a decision?  What resources will we have to cut for them as a result of this new $2400 line item?  Would faculty in other departments be happy about this?  Would faculty who have spent years asking for particular journal subscriptions, who have been denied because they are so expensive, be happy about this?  I don’t know.  I will remain confused.