Call for Papers: Library Trends


Title: Researching practice / Practicing research: The public library in partnership with academia

Editors: Joyce Latham (University of Milwaukee School of Information Studies) and Noah Lenstra (University of North Carolina at Greensboro Department of Library and Information Studies)

Abstract submission deadline: August 1, 2019

Publication date: Spring 2021

This special issue of Library Trends seeks to energize and highlight research-based partnerships between public library staff and members of academia (faculty, staff, librarians, and/or students). The emphasis will be on partnerships between scholars and practitioners that advance knowledge of the contemporary public library. The geographic scope is international, but the time period is bounded by late 20th century to the present. It is the intention of this special issue that the public library as a civic agency become more visible, and that the knowledge base supporting public library practice and education expands.

Submissions representing any types of partnerships between members of academia and public libraries are invited. In the past, scholars and public library practitioners have:

  • Partnered for data analysis
  • Partnered to research possible new programs and services
  • Partnered for collection analysis and development
  • Partnered for needs assessments
  • Partnered for non-user studies, and for user studies on particular populations
  • Partnered for impact analysis
  • Partnered for policy analysis and library development
  • Partnered for field-based, experiential learning

Research can focus on more recognizable concepts such as intellectual freedom and community outreach. It may also stimulate research on the analysis of internal administrative decision making, relationships with local governments, funding strategies for new construction, social media use, service model revisions, the impacts of other partnerships, and the development of library foundations, among other topics to be uncovered. The project encourages community engagement by emphasizing a joint approach to research design and results analysis.

This special issue focuses on public libraries because there is some evidence that the relationship between this sector and the academy has in recent years grown strained. Conversations convened by the American Library Association in 2018 and 2019 brought together LIS faculty and public library leaders: Those conversations illustrated a perceived growing gap between research and practice.ix Similarly, librarians from the United Kingdom and Canada argue that “the current state of evidence based practice and research on, and to inform, public library practice lags significantly behind that of other library sectors.”x This special issue seeks to address these gaps.

Partnerships involving those from the Library and Information Sciences, and from other fields, are welcomed and encouraged. Partnerships involving academic librarians working with public libraries are also welcomed. Articles representing different stages of project development are welcomed (i.e. under development, in progress, completed).

August 1, 2019 – 500-word abstracts outlining anticipated submission due September 15, 2019 Editors notify author(s) if abstract accepted March 1, 2020

Article drafts due June 15, 2020
Article decision announced November 1, 2020 Final articles due Spring 2021 Final publication

Please send abstracts and inquiries to the guest editors: and

Instructions for Submissions:

The editors for this special issue of Library Trends request that interested authors submit an abstract of 500 words, following Chicago format for parenthetical and reference list citations, by August 1, 2019. Abstracts should be sent to and with the subject of “Library Trends: Abstract Submission – <author last name>.” Abstracts should include the author’s name, affiliation, and e-mail address. The editors also request that the author(s) includes an informal biography explaining how her/his past and present research and/or professional experience informs her/his submission.

After review of the proposed abstracts, we will invite authors to submit full papers in early September, 2019. If you are not selected, you will also be notified at the same time. Full papers will be due to the editors by March 1, 2020; they will undergo a double-blind peer review. The journal expects to publish the issue in Spring 2021. All full submissions should follow the formatting requirements of the journal.

Special Note:

Library Trends is a gold embargoed journal published by Johns Hopkins University Press. After two years the content is freely available in IDEALS, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s institutional repository. During those two years, authors are free to put a copy of the final version of the record PDF in their own repository and make it openly available. For this issue, the author agreement grants Library Trends license to publish. Authors are not required to transfer copyright. The agreement is available for review upon request.


i Japzon, A. C., & Gong, H. (2005). A neighborhood analysis of public library use in New York City. The Library Quarterly, 75(4), 446-463. ii Morgan, A. U., D’Alonzo, B. A., Dupuis, R., Whiteman, E. D., Kallem, S., McClintock, A., … & Cannuscio, C. C. (2018). Public library staff as community health partners: training program design and evaluation. Health promotion practice, 19(3), 361-368; Flaherty, M. G., & Miller, D. (2016). Rural public libraries as community change agents: Opportunities for health promotion. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 57(2), 143-150; Engeszer, R. J., Olmstadt, W., Daley, J., Norfolk, M., Krekeler, K., Rogers, M., … & McDonald, B. (2016). Evolution of an academic–public library partnership. Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA, 104(1), 62.; Rhinesmith, Colin, Molly Dettmann, Michael Pierson, and Rebecca Spence. YouthStudio: Designing Public Library YA Spaces with Teens. Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults 6 (2015):; Xie, B. (2011). Older adults, e‐health literacy, and collaborative learning: An experimental study. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 62(5), 933-946; Mehra, B., Bishop, B. W., & Partee, R. P. (2018). A Case Methodology of Action Research to Promote Rural Economic Development: Implications for LIS Education. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 59(1-2), 48-65. iii Mehra, B., & Elder, A. (2018). Benefits to Collection Development Librarians from Collaborating with “Community-Embedded” Librarians-In-Training. Collection Management, 43(2), 120-137. iv Kranich, N., & Senteio, C. (2018). Library Engagement with Community-based Health and Wellness in Diverse Communities. ALISE 2018. v Howard, V. (2011). What do young teens think about the public library?. The Library Quarterly, 81(3), 321-344; Fisher, K. E., Durrance, J. C., & Hinton, M. B. (2004). Information grounds and the use of need‐based services by immigrants in Queens, New York: A context‐based, outcome evaluation approach. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55(8), 754-766. vi Campana, K., Mills, J. E., Capps, J. L., Dresang, E. T., Carlyle, A., Metoyer, C. A., … & Kotrla, B. (2016). Early literacy in library storytimes: A study of measures of effectiveness. The Library Quarterly, 86(4), 369-388; Williams, K. Informatics Moments. Library Quarterly 82(1), 47-73. vii Potnis, D., and Gala, B. (2018). Financial Information Literacy Toolkit to Educate Borrowers: A Channel for Public Libraries to Partner with Government for Financial Inclusion in India. ALISE 2018.; Le Roux, S., & Hendrikz, F. (2006). Joint use libraries: Implementing a pilot community/school library project in a remote rural area in South Africa. Library Trends, 54(4), 620-639. viii Evans, A., Dresang, E., Campana, K., & Feldman, E. (2013). Research in action: Taking classroom learning to the field.Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 244-252; Most, L. R. (2011). Hands on from a distance: The community-embedded learning model contextualizes online student coursework. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 295-304; Bowen, L. M., Arko, K., Beatty, J., Delaney, C., Dorpenyo, I., Moeller, L., … & Velat, J. (2014). Community engagement in a graduate-level community literacy course. Community Literacy Journal, 9(1), 18-38. ix x Cole, B., & Ryan, P. (2016). Public libraries. In D. Koufogiannakis & A. Brettle (Eds.), Being Evidence Based in Library and Information Practice (pp. 105-120). London: Facet, p. 120.

Joyce M. Latham, Ph.D. & Noah Lenstra, Ph.D.