Developing a Writing Group for Librarians: The Benefits of Successful Collaboration

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Purpose: Research productivity is often counted as a major factor in evaluations and promotion. Librarians have had to find a way to pursue research along with performing job duties and professional service. Collaborative research can provide an effective solution for busy librarians who need to show a record of research. Additionally, it can be a cost‐effective means for library administrators to promote library faculty output in the face of reduced travel and research budgets. This paper seeks to address these issues.

Design/methodology/approach: In developing their research group, the authors began with a small, informal collaboration on an article describing new staffing models for library outreach. As the writing of the article proceeded, the group developed a more formal structure. As that article reached completion, the purpose of the group expanded to that of fostering creativity and following creative leads to a publishable (or presentable) conclusion.

Findings: In the two years during which the writing group has been working together, it has produced four articles and nine presentations, with several in‐progress efforts. In addition, the writing group has encouraged members to develop individual projects for presentation and publication outside of the group's scope.

Practical implications: The authors offer recommendations to other professionals interested in forming collaborative writing groups and to library administrators interested in encouraging their staffs to develop productive working relationships.

Originality/value: Few articles have been written about collaboration among librarians to promote their own research and publication. The authors describe in this paper an informal, yet highly effective means to foster faculty research productivity.