26 Aug 2021

Getting Started with Library Publishing (June 10th 2021, LAI Library Publishing Group)

Guest post by Margaret Irons, a review of the LAI Library Publishing Group's recent webinar Getting started with Library PublishingMargaret is a Librarian and Repository Manager at the School of Celtic Studies, DIAS.  As librarian Margaret supports all research staff towards their research and publication work. As a member of the LAI Library Publishing Group she hopes to further enhance this support and to build on and develop networks within the library publishing community in Ireland.

“Librarians break down boundaries and promote sharing” according to Ann Okerson – Convenor of IFLA LIBPUBS.

Librarians are extremely good at openly sharing information and I don’t mean just the information contained in their libraries. I mean that if a librarian learns how to perfect a task or a new skill, they are always willing to pass on to their colleagues, this new skill they have just mastered. So they share the nuts and bolts of the information needed to get started and then enhance the experience by also sharing the knowledge they have gathered around the application of the process and subsequently teaching others how to do it better. 

Nowhere has this been more visible for me in recent times than with the LAI Library Publishing Group (LAI LPG).  

Established in 2019, the aims of the LAI LPG are:

  • To raise awareness of the Library Publishing movement in Ireland 
  • To disseminate information on the latest developments within the Library publishing sector nationally and internationally 
  • To promote academic writing and publishing activity amongst library staff providing a variety of relevant supports to facilitate this, including knowledge-sharing events, workshops and mentoring 
  • To mentor new library publishers and to showcase library publishing initiatives and successes in Ireland 
  • To forge links between open access and institutional publishing presses and libraries 
  • To liaise with relevant agencies such as the Library Publishing Coalition, the IFLA Special Interest Group on Library Publishing, PKP and other key organisations. 
  • To promote and teach the Library Publishing Curriculum to Group members and across the library sector 

Library publishing has come from the need to disseminate local scholarship in an environment where it was found that this fundamental need wasn’t entirely being met. It is not a new subject area but as a growing field, library publishers are advocates of and leaders in open access publishing. 

As defined by the Library Publishing Coalition, library publishing is: 

“[T]he set of activities led by college and university libraries to support the creation, dissemination, and curation of scholarly, creative, and/or educational works. Generally, library publishing requires a production process, presents original work not previously made available, and applies a level of certification to the content published, whether through peer review or extension of the institutional brand.

Given that one of the main aims of the LAI LPG is to mentor new library publishers and to showcase initiatives, the inaugural LAI LPG seminar was held online on June 10th 2021 in order to facilitate and promote this mentoring and to develop the Library Publishing community. 

The format of the webinar went like this. 

  • Welcome and Introduction – Jane Buggle, IADT
  • The Genesis of a Successful Library Publishing Program – Aisling Coyne, TU Dublin
  • Publishing with Faculty –  Johannah Duffy, Marino Institute of Education
  • Publishing with Students:
  • Sinead Hanrahan and Shane Cusack, MTU
  • Niamh Brennan, TCD
  • A New Publishing Program – Fiona Morley, MU
  • Setting up a Peer Reviewed Library Published Journal in Business: Ethos, Content and Quality – Marie O’Neill, CCT College
  • The Role of Managing Editor – Robert Alfis, ETBI
  • The Library Publishing Curriculum – Jane Buggle, IADT
  • The Benefits of Library Publishing – Ann Okerson, IFLA Special Interest Group on Library Publishing

Topics ranged from setting up library published journals, the role of editors and the peer review process involved, publishing with students and faculty, to the very dynamic and empowering library publishing curriculum. 

The amount of passion, knowledge and interest in the area was clear on screen and from the many different projects that were highlighted across institutions. 

The Genesis of a Successful Library Publishing Program – Aisling Coyne, TU Dublin

Positivity exhuded from Aisling Coyne’s ‘Go For It’ attitude to publishing and her presentation was a delight as she outlined the peaks and troughs of academic led and library supported publishing at TU Dublin since 2008. Publishing 11 open access journals – all TU Dublin titles can be found on the DOAJ. The process of applying for inclusion in the DOAJ can be found here for those who are interested. 

Publishing with Faculty  Johannah Duffy, Marino Institute of Education

Johannah Duffy led us through the process of encouraging and publishing with faculty members in MIE, by outlining the importance of relationship building between librarians and faculty. Good two-way communication is key. 

Johannah went on to give us an overview of their open access e-journal

Student Teacher Educational Research (STER) which is an Irish Higher Education partnership project that supports education students to share their dissertation research with the wider education community. 

Sinead Hanrahan and Shane Cusack, MTU

SinĂ©ad Hanrahan and Shane Cusack, Munster TU, described the learning curve involved in publishing the International Undergraduate Journal of Health Sciences (IUJHS). Launched shortly after this webinar in June 2021 the IUJHS is a student run, open access, peer- reviewed online journal that publishes original research papers, short communications, review papers, mini-review papers, letters to the editor and conference proceedings within the field of human health and medical science. 

The learning objectives outlined by our speakers can certainly be applied to library publishing everywhere. 

  • Prepare students for their working lives
  • Develop student-staff partnership
  • Develop student’s experience of scientific communication
  • Develop opportunities for staff CPD

Niamh Brennan, TCD

Niamh Brennan ran us through the timeline of the past 15 years of open access publishing in TCD and in particular SOAPbox.  This project seeks to engage the student community in activities that will maximise the reach of their work and embrace contemporary developments in scholarly communication via the facilitation of a Student Open Access Project, or SOAPBOX for short.

Niamh also went on to highlight both the importance of a journal being open access and also the reasons why many scholars still feel there are barriers to embracing open scholarship. 

Some early findings from SOAPbox are

  • Student publishing bridges the research and the teaching and learning ‘divide’
  • Community of Practice approach works
  • Need for training in all aspects of the publishing process
  • Transition to OA/OJS via a tandem or parallel process (print & online)
  • Clear annual ‘handover’ model required per journal

A New Publishing Program – Fiona Morley, MU

As the first university in Ireland to set up an OA repository, Maynooth University is a leading advocate of OA publishing. Also with an array of OA journals under it’s belt, Fiona went through the list of titles and the reasons why MU library sees the importance of supporting OA scholarship and piloting open publishing initiatives. The library is currently developing a libguide on open publishing and also working on building knowledge and expertise on campus around OA publishing. 

Setting up a Peer Reviewed Library Published Journal in Business: Ethos, Content and Quality – Marie O’Neill, CCT College

Next up Marie O’Neill, CCT College (previously Dublin Business School), outlined the process involved in setting up the DBS Business Review inspired by an institution wide audit of scholarly activity at DBS Business School compared to the Arts School. Marie outlined that the goal of the journal is to facilitate robust and dynamic scholarly communication across business schools throughout Ireland and beyond. DBS Business Review also aims to dismantle some of the boundaries that exists between various disciplines. A key aim of open access publishing in itself. 

Marie then went on to give us a synopsis of the library publishing initiatives at CCT college and to advocate for and promote the various communities of practice that are available for anyone interested in learning more about library publishing. 

The Role of Managing Editor – Robert Alfis, ETBI

Following on from that Robert Alfis, ETBI (formerly Dublin Business School) described his role as Managing Editor on the DBS Business Review. With insights into the process behind the role it is clear to see the benefits of Librarian as Editor. 

The Library Publishing Curriculum Jane Buggle, IADT

The final presentation of the day was by Jane Buggle, IADT and Chair of the LAI LPG. Members of the LAI LPG completed the Library Publishing Curriculum (expertly taught by Jane) online during 2020. Professionally it was one of the highlights of my year. Developed by the Library Publishing Coalition in partnership with Educopia in 2018, the Curriculum covers the Content, Impact, Sustainability and Policies of Library Publishing. Open and free to use by anyone under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, the LAI LPG would highly recommend everyone having a look. 

Promoting this curriculum is one of the main aims of the LAI LPG along with advocating for Library Publishing education at a library school, National and International level. 

Rounding off the webinar we were joined by Ann Okerson, IFLA Special Interest Group on Library Publishing and author of The Once and Future Publishing Library. 

Ann reminded us that librarian values are aligned to open access publishing initiatives and finished off the day with encouragement for the future.

We owe it to ourselves to promote libraries as publishers and we owe it to research & publishing to share our skills with research staff and students. 

Thank you to the LAI LPG committee for organising the event and to all speakers for sharing their knowledge and experience. 





Further reading

19 Aug 2021

The L2L Joint Digital Badge (A collaboration between the LAI and the NFT&L)

Guest post by Isabelle Courtney & Mary Buckley. Isabelle Courtney is a librarian and lecturer in Records Management &  Information Law at Dublin Business School.  She is a member of the LAI Career Development Group and Project Leader on the L2L Digital Badge initiative with the National Forum

Mary Buckley is head librarian at the National College of Ireland.  She is a member of the LAI and Project Leader on the L2L Digital Badge initiative with the National Forum

The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education is the  national body responsible for leading and advising on the enhancement of teaching and learning in Irish higher education. They have developed a suite of open-access professional development short courses for those who are interested in progressing their professional development.   

With a wide range of courses to choose from, over  1,500 participants across the sector have  already completed one or more of the short courses and earned their digital badges. The first of these digital badges is called PACT and it is about committing to professional development.  One of the key outputs of this  course is the creation of an ePortfolio, an online space to record and reflect on one’s professional development .

Many of the participants of the National Forums’ courses  are librarians and it was  a chance discussion between two of these librarians during a PACT course in late 2020 led to the concept of the L2L Joint Digital Badge.  

Considering the identity of librarians as professionals within the National Forum’s framework. Mary Buckley (National College of Ireland) and Isabelle Courtney (Dublin Business School), both active members of the Library Association of Ireland (LAI), talked about  the possibility of a librarian specific PACT course that encompassed both the National Forum’s Professional Development Framework and the CILIP'S Professional Knowledge & Skills Base Framework  (PKSB)

The Domains of the National Forum PD Framework

Recognising that librarian roles, not just in the education sector, but in general, increasingly include teaching responsibilities, it was felt that there was a need for a specific course which focused on pedagogy from a librarian perspective.  

Although little research on the subject has been conducted in an Irish context, a 2015  study in the UK looked at academic librarians’ perception of their own teaching roles, the main themes arising from that study found that some librarians felt less confident about their teaching and less willing to acknowledge that they were teachers. However, by attending more teaching related CPD events, librarians felt more informed about good teaching practice and more confident to speak with authority on the subject. (Wheeler and McKinney, 2015) 

Considering the conclusions and recommendations of this study and anecdotal evidence within librarian networks, an adapted version of the PACT open course was pitched to the Library Association of  Ireland (LAI )and the National Forum for Teaching & Learning (NFT&L).   

Both parties enthusiastically supported the proposal. In fact, this proposed initiative aligned, and built upon a previous collaboration between the  National Forum  and  librarians from Dundalk Institute of Technology. The  L2L project in 2017 saw  library staff  across  three institutions came  together  to explore  and reflect upon their  professional  development using the National Forum’s  professional development framework.  

An  application for support for the L2L Joint Digital Badge was  made through the National Forum's Network & Discipline Fund.  This fund focused  on the theme of  “Shared Solutions to Common Challenges” and was aimed at groups who wished to work together to respond proactively to identified challenges in teaching and learning in Irish higher education.  (‘Network and Discipline Fund 2021’, 2021)  The application was successful and the L2L Joint Digital badge was given the go ahead in April 2020. The new digital badge will be jointly recognised by the NFTL and LAI.

In order to promote the initiative and to seek expressions of interest, the LAI Career Development Group held an online information event in early June 2021 . The event was extremely well attended and a waiting list for the L2L short course was established.

A project team of seven skilled librarians across several institutions, was appointed and have been working on the development  of the course. 

Project Team:

Isabelle Courtney (DBS)

Mary Buckley (NCI)

Marie O'Neill (CCT College)

Robert Alfis  (ETBI)

Stephanie Chen (UCC)

Eva Hornung (CDEBT) 

Aoife Williams (IBAT College)

The existing learning outcomes  of the PACT course have been adapted to reflect the needs of  teaching librarians  and those who  wished to take up teaching roles.  On completion of the course learners will be able to:

  • Reflect on what is involved in making a commitment to your own Professional Development as a teaching librarian
  • Explore and demonstrate familiarity with the National Professional Development Framework and the CILIP/LAI  Professional Knowledge & Skills Base Framework
  • Create an ePortfolio to record and reflect on  CPD activities
  • Be informed by other librarians who have already used the Professional Development Framework and identify key actions from these conversations for your own Professional Development practice
  • Identify ‘next steps’ – moving from reflecting on Professional Development to undertaking it 

The pilot course will run lunchtime webinars over 6 weeks from 4th October to 8th November 2021 (12.30-1.30pm). It will take 25 learner hours in total to earn the L2L digital badge.   By completing a further 2 weeks, successful participants can earn an additional facilitator’s digital badge which will allow you to run the  course within your institution or across your network.


For further information please contact us on the L2L website and check our social media channels for updates.

Twitter: @librariansl2l

Instagram: l2ljointdigitalbadge

Facebook: L2L Joint Digital Badge


‘Getting Started with Professional Development – PACT’ (no date) National Forum. Available at: https://opencourses.teachingandlearning.ie/open_course/getting-started-with-professional-development-pact/ (Accessed: 16 August 2021).

‘Network and Discipline Fund 2021’ (2021) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Available at: https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/funding/network-and-discipline-fund-2020/ (Accessed: 16 August 2021).

Wheeler, E. and McKinney, P. (2015) ‘Are librarians teachers? Investigating academic librarians’ perceptions of their own teaching skills’, Journal of Information Literacy, 9(2), pp. 111–128. doi: 10.11645/9.2.1985.