Centre for the Public Library and Information in Society


Doctoral students in the Information School conduct research in a number of areas related to public libraries and information. Ongoing and recent examples include the following: the information behaviour of migrational women (Melanie Benson), the provision of LGBT fiction to children and young people (Liz Chapman, completed 2015), public libraries and community resilience (Dan Grace), exploring views on the value of culture (Martin Simmons), diversity training in public libraries (Mostafa Syed, completed 2014), the history, development and cultural impact of libraries (Jon Webster).

Current funded research related to public librarianship include the following:

Investigating Interlending

A scoping study of resource discovery, sharing and cooperation. Dr. Briony Birdi (PI), Professor Stephen Pinfield (Co-I), Sophie Rutter and Dr. Simon Wakeling (Research Associates), working with and funded by The Combined Regions Management Board (2015). Download final project report (including executive summary), and executive summary.

Library Stories

Library Stories aims to explore the origins of the free library network in Sheffield and to consider the use and value of these public spaces both at their inception and today. Dr. Anna Barton (PI, School of English), Dr. Briony Birdi (Co-I), working with Our Favourite Places and Sheffield Libraries and Archives (Faculty of Arts & Humanities Arts Enterprise Funding, 2014-15).

Supporting isolated adults via the Six Book Challenge in Sheffield

This project gives Information School students on the MA Librarianship and MSc Digital Library Management programmes the opportunity to work as volunteers for SAVTE (the Sheffield Association for the Voluntary Teaching of English), providing valuable support to some of Sheffield's most excluded and isolated English language larners via our local public library networks and the national Six Book Challenge (Engaged Curriculum funding, 2014-15, project ongoing 2015-16). Dr Briony Birdi blogs on this Engaged Curriculum project.