I, Carolyn Rankin, am currently a Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Arts, Environment and Technology at Leeds Beckett University (formerly Leeds Metropolitan University) in the UK.
I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a Bachelor of Social Science in Human Geography and had thoughts of pursuing a career in town planning. However, having discovered the wonders of Geographical Abstracts in the university library as a final year student (the printed version, of course, as this was a long time ago!), I realised I was more interested in information management. I undertook postgraduate library qualifications at the University of Strathclyde and Leeds Polytechnic and went on to become a Chartered Member of the Library Association, now the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).
I have had a varied career as an information professional. After 20 years experience in special and academic library and information services as an information specialist and manager, I took the opportunity to move into professional education at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2000. I was a senior lecturer in the School of Information Management for six years, and postgraduate course leader of the CILIP accredited MSc Information Studies – I still enjoy hearing from former students and finding out where their career paths have taken them. During my time as a ‘library school’ lecturer I specialised in lecturing on the management of information and library services and the role of the information professional. I also focused on teaching research methods and supervising Masters dissertations and PhD students.
My research interests are disciplinary, exploring the connections between civil society, social
Justice and access to literacy and learning via libraries. I have undertaken research on the impact of the National Year of Reading in the UK and am currently involved in undertaking a longitudinal evaluation
of the development of the Sister Libraries programme for the Children and Young Adults Section of IFLA. My PhD research examined the role of the UK public library in the 21st century in supporting the development of communication, language and literacy in young children. My current professional activities include the role of External Examiner for the CILIP Professional Registration and Accreditation Board, Chair of the Library and Information Research Group, and Assessor for CILIP Accreditation for Learning Providers.
Never underestimate the potential benefits of networking. By chance I met Dr Avril Brock during a coffee break about nine years ago and began a writing partnership that is testament to the value of collaborative research. As research partners we have now co-authored and edited five books, including Library Services for Children and Young People – Challenges and Opportunities in the Digital Age published by Facet. A revised edition of Library Services from Birth to Five – Delivering the Best Start is due for publication by Facet in February 2015 and includes country case study contributions from a number of IFLA colleagues – once again, the benefits of networking!
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