Celebrating a different kind of library: the Idox Information Service

Number 95

Exterior of the Idox Information Service office, an art deco building in Glasgow

by Laura Dobie

It’s National Libraries Day this Saturday, and events are being held up and down the country to celebrate libraries and their contribution to communities. When people think of libraries, it tends to be public libraries which spring to mind and rows of bookshelves. However, the library sector is diverse.  Many librarians and information professionals work in different types of organisations, with different kinds of service users.

With libraries taking centre stage over the course of this weekend, we wanted to showcase our own specialist library service and the skills of our library staff.

Who we are

The Idox Information Service is a membership library service, which was established over thirty years ago under its earlier name of the Planning Exchange. At the outset the emphasis was on the provision of resources to support professionals working in planning and the built environment, but we’ve expanded our subject coverage over the years to cover the whole spectrum of public sector information.

Our members include policy makers and practitioners from organisations including local authorities, central government, universities, think tanks, consultancies and charities. They work in challenging environments and often need evidence to inform service delivery or decision-making.

Our work

Our research officers are all qualified librarians, and many are chartered members of CILIP. This picture shows the range of activities last year:

2014 statsGrey literature is a particular strength of our collection. We spend a lot of time sourcing documents such as technical reports from government agencies, and research reports produced by think tanks, university departments, charities and consultancies which are often overlooked by other databases. Recent research has highlighted the value of grey literature for public policy and practice.

Although we may work in a specialist sector, many of our activities will be familiar from other libraries. We do our own abstracting and cataloguing, and current awareness services are a big part of what we do.

We also write our own research briefings for members on different topics, with more detailed analysis of research and policy developments, and including case studies and good practice. Some of these briefings are publicly available on our publications page.

The interest from members in using our Ask a Researcher service has been increasing, due to the time pressures and other challenges that people face in sourcing and reviewing information. A recent example looking at the links between employee wellbeing and productivity is on our website. Members regularly comment on the usefulness of the results, and it’s satisfying to be able to make a direct contribution to their work in this way.

Keeping it personal

While there has been an increasing trend towards self-service in libraries, and our online database allows our members to search for and access resources themselves, there is a strong personal element to our work.

Our members know that we’re always available at the end of the phone or via email to provide them with dedicated support when they need it. It’s important to us that we provide a quality service which keeps pace with the changing needs and expectations of a varied membership base.

Hopefully this article has provided some insight into a different kind of library, and library and information work, and the way in which we support professionals across a variety of fields. More information about the service can be found here.


Laura Dobie is a Research Officer at the Idox Information Service and a chartered librarian. She writes regular blog articles and research briefings for the service, and tweets for @IdoxInfoService

24 thoughts on “Celebrating a different kind of library: the Idox Information Service

  1. Pingback: Child abuse by children: why don’t we talk about it? | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  2. Pingback: Single sector BIDS: the future of BIDS in Scotland? | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  3. Pingback: Ecotherapy in practice: nature based mental health care | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  4. Pingback: Rebuilding a community without bringing down the house: an alternative to demolishing ‘sink estates’ | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  5. Pingback: Digital technology in social work practice | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  6. Pingback: Rural transport: connecting communities | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  7. Pingback: A book for everything that ails us … why bibliotherapy could be just the medicine we’re looking for | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  8. Pingback: Christmas without a home | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  9. Pingback: Should the UK introduce a tax on sugar? | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  10. Pingback: Understanding the value of public money could be key to council tax reform in Scotland | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  11. Pingback: Costs and benefits of the National Living Wage | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  12. Pingback: Idox: enabling transformation, collaboration and improvement | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  13. Pingback: An all-round approach: could the circular economy help the world turn the corner on climate change? | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  14. Pingback: Parental capacity to change: a new approach to child protection assessments | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  15. Pingback: Intimacy and sexuality in care homes | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  16. Pingback: The local prevention of terrorism | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  17. Pingback: Budget cuts hit research in councils’ adult social care departments | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  18. Pingback: Dementia’s impact on those who care | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  19. Pingback: Commissioning the third sector … are we outsourcing authority as well as services? | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  20. Pingback: Want to know more about inequality or digital public services? So do our members! | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  21. Pingback: Being a young carer shouldn’t be a struggle | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  22. Pingback: Place-based approaches to service delivery | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  23. Pingback: Volunteers in libraries: an alternative to closures, or a risk to the professionals? | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

  24. Pingback: Let’s get personal: top tips for using our information alerts | The Knowledge Exchange Blog

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s