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The First Next Step: Research and Writing for Librarians

Welcome! This guide is a collection of materials for librarians who are interested in starting, restarting, or reinvigorating their research and writing. We're glad you found it!

This began as a supplement to the presentation we gave at the 2021 Rhode Island Library Association Annual Conference, and we'll continue to update it as we find new tools and tips. If you have something we should consider adding, please contact Amanda Izenstark at

Many thanks!
Amanda Izenstark, University of Rhode Island

Ann Agee, San Jose State University
Holly Jackson, Mansfield University
Anna Sandelli, University of Tennessee Knoxville
Linds Roberts, University of Colorado Boulder



Sources of Ideas: Research Agendas

Professional documents and research agendas can be great ways of gaining a sense of the big picture and where there are gaps in the research for your area of librarianship. These are just a handful of research agendas from different areas of librarianship. 

As an individual professional, having a research agenda for yourself can help you focus your work and plan for the future. Some academic positions will require a written research agenda, but it can be useful across library types. Inside Higher Ed's 2009 article "Creating a Research Agenda" provides a short introduction.

Accessing LIS Research

If you are at a small institution or non-academic library, it can be tricky to track down library and information science articles, book chapters, and books. Here are some strategies we've found helpful for gathering your research materials!

  • Use Interlibrary Loan
  • Find free materials by searching open access sources or using Google Scholar's "Other versions"
  • Reach out to colleagues or the authors directly to ask for a copy of an item
  • Subscribe to Table of Contents emails for publications you enjoy or use Google Scholar alerts to have regular inspiration sent to your inbox

Resources for Collaboration

Time Tracking and Productivity Tools

Additional Resources

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.