Professions are shaped and reshaped over time due to a number of factors. Over the years academic librarians have focused on serving students teaching them information literacy. During this time, however, the research process has become more complex meaning there are more actors with different needs and demands involved shaping also the needs of the researchers. This leads to emerging opportunities and challenges for academic librarians to expand to new work task areas. The aim of my dissertation is to better understand the shaping of (expert) work task areas and the development of academic librarianship in relation to the development of services for researchers. This is done through analyzing challenges and opportunities encountered by academic librarians working with developing services for researchers. The aim will be achieved by a qualitative study involving academic librarians working with development of services for researchers.
The empirical study was conducted at three division libraries within a university library. Research data consists of meeting transcripts from the three division library research service group meetings as well as structured interviews with members of the library research service groups, and faculty library directors. Also, strategic and operational plans for the academic library are analyzed. Challenges and opportunities to claim work task areas will be analyzed using Abbott’s (1988) theory of professions. The preliminary results show that the development of academic librarianship is dependent on the discipline of the researchers services are developed for. Furthermore, two main paths for expanding jurisdiction of academic librarians in relation to developing services for researchers seem to emerge: a collaborative partner to researchers and advisor/consultant.