Doctoral student heads back to Norway after successful visit

Jamie JohnstonFaculty and students in the Library & Information Science program are continuing to foster the relationship between FIMS and colleagues in Norway this summer.  After hosting several researchers from Akershus University (Olso) several years ago, FIMS welcomed Jamie Johnston, doctoral student in the Department of Archivistics, Library and Information Science, for the months of June and July.

On a recommendation from her advisor, Ragnar Audunson, and colleague Ase Kristine Tveit, Johnston made the trip across the ocean in June.  She will be wrapping up her visit on July 25, and has positive feelings about her time at Western.

“The thing that has left the biggest impression on me is the incredibly supportive and vibrant community that makes up FIMS. The FIMS community has welcomed me and my family, shared their knowledge on a variety of topics - ranging from research to career counseling to where are nice places to go camping in Ontario - and facilitated professional opportunities, such as the Brown Bag talk and library visits,” she explains.

“From these experiences, I feel that I have not only expanded my professional network, furthered my understanding of topics related to my research, and found opportunities for future collaboration, but also made a few new friends.  Thanks FIMS for making this such a wonderful experience!”

Johnston’s research is looking at public library services for multicultural populations, and as such she spent a good deal of time visiting libraries in London and Toronto.  With the assistance of faculty members Kate Johnson and Paulette Rothbauer, she was able to arrange several formal visits to branches, including participating in a conversation circle in Toronto.

“FIMS faculty has been wonderful in connecting me with libraries and library professionals in the region. It is actually from my library visits that I have discovered my next research topic – public libraries and the economic integration of immigrants,” says Johnston.

Johnston gave a public lecture in North Campus Building on July 8, titled “Conversation-based programming in public libraries and immigrant integration,” based on some of her research.  She also met other graduate students in FIMS and collaborated with LIS faculty members in an effort to deepen her understanding of the topics related to her research.

Paulette Rothbauer, LIS Program Coordinator, helped to organize the trip.  She feels that having doctoral students visit from other universities enriches the social and intellectual lives of those involved.  The collaboration enlivens scholarly networks, and can also help to further solutions for questions already being grappled with in FIMS.

“For example, Jamie’s research on state-supported public library cafés programming for newcomers and immigrants can immediately inform settlement and outreach services in our public libraries,” she explains.  “While some of the embedded public library outreach services and programming that our local public libraries excel at give Jamie a chance to situate some of her findings in different contexts.”
She adds that all that aside, it’s also just plain fun to be able to meet and talk with visiting students.

Johnston will wrap up her trip on Friday, July 25.  She will leave London and travel to Iceland for a couple of weeks to visit family.  Then it will be back to Norway for a short while, before she’s off again to participate in the 5th Cycling for Libraries Tour in September.

As co-organizer and planner, Johnston will travel from Olso, through Sweden and into Denmark.

“Along the way, we will visit libraries and learn about the programs and services they offer. The aim of the event is to advocate for libraries and facilitate international collaboration between librarians,” she says.

After the tour, Johnston will return to Norway to continue her research.  She hopes to complete her PhD by November 2016.