The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funded Library as Research Lab Project (RE-95-17-0104-17) enables Master’s students, academic librarians, and information science faculty to engage in a series of mentored research activities. The library research lab environments foster research on practice while enabling students to develop and hone research skills and all lab members to use evidence-based practices. The University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI) and the U-M Library have co-created three interconnected research labs through which UMSI faculty, librarians, and students collaboratively perform empirical research. Through this collaboration both students and librarians experience professional practice and mentorship that moves away from the traditional one-on-one mentoring model to one of a network of peers, librarians, and faculty who bring different expertise to the problems faced by libraries.
Each research lab focuses on one of the three research themes: assessing the library’s role in student learning; its impact on research and scholarship; or redesigning library services to accommodate changes in higher education. Each lab consists of seven members: a lab director, a senior librarian, a junior librarian and four master’s students per year. From 2017 to 2020, 30 students in UMSI Master of Science in Information (MSI) program, seven U-M librarians, two UMSI faculty members, two U-M Library administrators, four Advisory Board members are expected to participate in this project.