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For Librarians, by Librarians - Emerald shares Award Winning Advice

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RUSA/ BRASS Emerald Research Grant Award – Jason Dewland and Cindy Elliott

Image: Jason DewlandImage: Cindy ElliottThe American Library Association's (ALA) Reference & User Services Association (RUSA) Business Reference & Services Section (BRASS) Emerald Research Grant is awarded to an individual or team seeking support to conduct research in business librarianship. Winners are awarded a $3,000 cash prize donated by Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

This year's winners are Jason Dewland, Assistant Librarian, University of Arizona & Cindy Elliott, Engineering & Innovation Librarian, University of Arizona for their study, "Review of Research Methods Employed by Start-Ups"

Our experience and our day to day roles at present

Jason and I are both in the Research & Learning department for the University of Arizona Libraries which is externally facing; we consult with students and faculty in departments to embed instruction and research-focused assignments into the curriculum, consult on student and faculty research and are selectors for new content to license or purchase.  

I focus on the College of Engineering and Eller College of Management Marketing department as well as Tech Launch Arizona and have been an assistant librarian at the University of Arizona since 2012. I received my MLIS from the University of Arizona, and BS from the Eller College of Management, University of Arizona.

Prior to joining the University of Arizona, I worked as a corporate and biomedical research librarian for Ventana Medical Systems and Hoffman La Roche. Prior to entering the library profession, I was a marketing research & communications professional.

Jason has been an assistant librarian at the University of Arizona since 2012. He serves as a liaison to the Eller College of Management, Tech Launch Arizona, and Innovate UA. He received his MLIS from Wayne State University; his MBA from the University of Maryland; and his BA from Boston University.

Before moving to Tucson to work at the University of Arizona he was the Business & Economics Librarian at the University of Mississippi.  Prior to entering the library profession, Jason worked in the automotive and IT industries and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Macedonia and Ukraine.

About our study, "Review of Research Methods Employed by Start-ups"

We are both passionate about supporting the entrepreneurial community both on campus and off campus in Southern Arizona, and we saw a need to understand the information habits and needs of newer businesses who are trying to grow and develop so that we can share that information with our community and others who want to grow their local entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Winning this award and how it will impact our work

We are really excited about winning this award as it means that we will be able to carry out this research that will help librarians to better understand how to engage, connect and support local businesses. 

A positive change we've made recently that we'd recommend to others

We are trying to work closer with the public library and local entrepreneurial groups in Tucson.  We have found that there is a combination of a large need for business research and a lack of understanding of what tools are available. 

By working with these groups we have learned a lot about the entrepreneurial environment in Tucson as well as a better understanding of the tools and resources needs for these groups.

Three tips we'd give to someone starting out in librarianship

  1. Be fearless – don't talk yourself out of something before you start.
  2. Exercise curiosity – try to stay open to what others share with you, and don't dismiss new ideas immediately.
  3. Seek out groups of people that are different than yourself – we have gained a lot from working with people from different backgrounds.

Reference Services Review (RSR) is a leading journal dedicated to the enrichment and advancement of reference knowledge and the improvement of professional practice.

Ranging from case studies to conceptual papers, its articles cover all aspects of reference and library user services in a digital age, and it is considered valued reading by the majority of North American library schools with its "au courant" focus, and around 2000  articles are downloaded each week.

Reviewers for the journal include distinguished practitioners, managers, administrators, educators, and scholars from library and information studies and higher education, as well as other fields.

For the latest news, publication alerts and debates, join our online community: Follow @EmeraldLibrary