First LARK Circle, 2023

by | Aug 22, 2023 | LARK Circles | 2 comments

By Dr Mary Anne Kennan and Emilia Bell

LARK has an initiative named LARK Circles which are communities of practice for those interested in LIS research, particularly practitioner research. The purpose of LARK Circles is to facilitate research-related collegial conversation and peer support. LARK Circles are conceptualised as learning circles.

What is a learning circle? It is a small informal group that meets to study a subject of interest to its members. In the case of LARK, the subject of interest is research and evidence-based practice of library and information professionals (LIP) and broader, colleagues in GLAM and allied disciplines. The members of a learning circle share their knowledge and experience, learn, and apply and test new skills. Learning circles have a flat structure, without a teacher or tutor. Participants meet as equals, however, there is usually a facilitator who is impartial who helps to manage the process. To run the group, learning circles develop a group agreement on how it will work and what the outcomes should be.

The first LARK Circle met via Zoom on Tuesday 25 July 2023. Participants came from Australia and from the UK, with most coming from university libraries and one from a school library. We look forward to seeing practitioner-researchers coming from a broader range of libraries in future circles. Participants had a wide range of interests and a wide range of research experience, from beginner to experienced. Some already had projects in mind and others were looking to develop projects. Participants were attending for a range of reasons, including: to develop their research practice skills, connect with and learn from other researchers, develop skills for reflective practice, and share research challenges and solutions.

A Slack platform was created for asynchronous discussion outside of Zoom meeting times. The first topic decided for discussion is research ethics, as several group members had ethical questions regarding their planned research. There is, however, the opportunity for members to open a discussion on any research related topic. The first two LARK Circle facilitators are Dr Mary Anne Kennan, an academic researcher from Charles Sturt University, and Emilia Bell, a practitioner researcher from the University of Southern Queensland.

Reference (Ideas taken from)
EU Lifelong Learning Programme (n.d.) , Partners in Adult Learning Toolkit https://www.salto-

Dr Mary Anne Kennan is Adjunct Associate Professor, Information Studies, Charles Sturt University
Emilia Bell is Coordinator (Evidence Based Practice), Library Services, University of Southern Queensland


  1. Jenny Copestake

    How do interested librarians join the group?

    • Suzana Sukovic

      Jenny, it is by expressions of interest. We’ll post another EoI form for the next year during this week. Keep an eye on our website and X account

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