The professor who looks wide-eyed at the world

Ola Pilerot will be installed as professor on 22 April 2022.

Inaugural lecture: Opus operatum and modus operandi of Library and Information Science
Date and time: 11 April 09:45–10:20
Place: C203, University of Borås

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Almost 20 years have passed since he started working at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science after 15 years as a professional librarian. The common thread through Ola Pilerot's life as a researcher has been the interest in how people interact with and relate to information of various kinds. These are issues that are not necessarily linked to libraries, but often the focus has been on library staff.

"I have a research ideal that resembles a child's look at the world. You have to look wide-eyed at the world and ask the seemingly naïve questions. One such naïve question may be: How do people know what to do at work?”

The research that has had the greatest impact

The research that thus far has had the greatest impact was that which he did in the wake of the refugee wave in 2015–2016. An extensive study on library work for new arrivals to Sweden, which was done together with Francis Hultgren, was widely disseminated and took him on a tour through the country.

“I became quite a talker; for several years I was out speaking to library staff, at conferences, and in many different contexts. After that, we continued to research those who the research primarily concerns, i.e. new arrivals and their ways of using libraries.”

The questions continue to engage him. In a current research project funded by the Swedish Arts Council, he and Malin Ögland, lecturer at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science, have followed three municipalities' investments in new arrivals hired as library guides. Another project is in the planning stage.

"It's easy and fun to do a doctorate."

When Ola Pilerot talks about the journey that took him from his first introductory course in literary studies to the professorship, it sounds like a satisfying journey. Doing a doctorate was "easy and fun – I didn't pull out my hair" and the research environment at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science he describes as "ambitious and alive."

"The Swedish School of Library and Information Science is a fun place to be, with an exciting breadth of research. We have the largest research environment in the field in Sweden and are also large from a Nordic, Scandinavian perspective. At the same time, we compete with larger higher education institutions and come from a discipline that is quite small, and therefore we have to struggle with competition and visibility.”

In addition to work, reading, in particular fiction, and watching movies, are of great interest. Ola Pilerot often reads several books at the same time and likes to listen to audiobooks together with his wife and research colleague Jenny Lindberg.

"Fiction is an essential part of my life, but also film, music and art – I am a true humanist.”

Ola Pilerot

Title: Professor of Library and Information Science

Thesis: Design researchers' information sharing: the enactment of a discipline (2014)

Last book read: Dolda gudar by Nils Håkansson. I read all the time and have several books going on at the same time.

Last seen film: Belfast.

What do you prefer to do when you have a day off? I get in the car with my wife, drive a little too far so we can listen to a book, stop in a beautiful place and take a walk.

Cheering on: My youngest son and I watch a lot of football, the Premier League and the Champions League. I follow it as much as I feel good about doing. As a matter of principle, I support Leeds; I've been doing that since I was a kid and I haven't been able to change. But in recent years I have cheated a bit and now I am rooting for Liverpool. Because they win. And they sing so well.

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Ola Pilerot's Researcher Profile

The research group Information Practices and Digital Cultures