Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version

June 2007


There is a divide between published research from library school (LIS) faculty and the use of these publications by practitioners in the field. This article suggests ways to bridge the gap between theory and practice. The suggestions are ways to frame the analyses of useful research areas that can help us improve the practice of librarianship. The first two, structural secrecy and improvisation, are operational in nature and deal with the day-to-day procedures. The third, naturalistic decision making, concerns making choices in the performance of duties. The fourth area, tacit knowledge, is the assumptions rooted in our knowledge of professional and institutional values. The fifth topic, activity theory, may elicit a holistic examination of our activities to study, for example, the efficacy of specific reference practices within the context of a particular library and institution. The final topic is assessment, which helps us decide if we are doing the right things, and, if so, doing them well.