Research in Library and Information Science at Södertörn University has close links to practice. We endeavour to maintain critical and constructive perspectives on contemporary phenomena that relate to people’s lives and their preparedness for participation in society.

At the university, research in Library and Information Science has two main themes: 1) Libraries, reading and learning, 2) Critical perspectives on digital infrastructures and scientific communication.

At Södertörn University, research about libraries has also been conducted within Business Studies, Teacher Education and Studies in Practical Knowledge, while information research has been conducted in Archival Science, Media and Communication Studies, and Informatics.

Libraries convey knowledge, information, literature and culture. The university’s research in Library and Information Science is based on the humanities and social sciences, and we explore knowledge creation, different forms of reading practices and how learning occurs in practice in professional contexts. Librarians in general, and school or university librarians in particular, develop pedagogical skills about people’s reading, learning, language development, information searches, knowledge dissemination, source criticism, and their lifelong learning journey.

Libraries, reading and learning is a broad research theme that encompasses numerous studies. Previous research has focused on people’s leisure-time reading and the different logics of reading practices. The theme also includes studies of how university librarians collaborate with secondary school teachers in teaching academic reading and writing. Other studies cover the library’s role as a hub for citizens learning digital skills and about how this work can be understood in relation to liberal education and democracy. Research about school libraries is linked to research about schools and deals with the role of the school library in pupils’ equality, education and life skills. One study examines the phenomenon of the workplace library and the potential it can offer for reading and media and information skills for adults, against the background of the changes and challenges of late-modern working life. Another study is about representation and justice at libraries, using the critical perspective of virtue ethics.

Libraries and society at large are fundamentally affected by digitalisation. Forms for communication and publication develop interactively and in competition between different stakeholders. Research in Library and Information Science at Södertörn University is based upon critical perspectives (economic, societal and cultural) on different phenomena in this context. For example, previous studies have covered new digital business models around an openness that always contains closure mechanisms, work with open data in emerging e-administration, and a study that reviews the Digiteket platform as a function for the development of librarians’ digital competence.

The commercial system for the communication and publication of general literature is further investigated in the light of different forms of capital in an increasingly digitalised book market, and examines new variants for awakening and maintaining consumers’ attention.

The scholarly publication system is examined in relation to the contemporary framework for open science. This looks at the processes of scientific communication and the role of the university library for open access to scholarly publications and research data. The institutional context, with the university, research financiers, consortiums and the university library, is of interest on a general level. More concretely, there is exploration of how different work processes and transactions are conducted and understood by the stakeholders involved in publication activities linked to collegial public-based projects, learned societies and commercial publishers.