Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Think of us as your librarians

If you are Rollins faculty that is.

The librarians have been working hard on fine tuning the way we communicate and work with faculty. We have had a liaison program for a number of years but it lacked clear goals. Departmental/program assignments seemed to be based more on librarian interest, not a more coherent principle like disciplinary relationship, geographic location of departments, or nature of the student or faculty (e.g. graduate v. undergraduate, pre-professional v. liberal arts.) Librarians did not receive initial training or continuing development in liaison.
There was little connection between collection development, acquisitions, and liaison. This meant there was little sense of responsibility for discipline specific databases/resources. Over time some duplication had developed with more than one librarian feeling a sense of responsibility for the same department. Finally there was no assessment of the effectiveness of liaison. There was even a problem with the name, "liaison." A word that librarians imported from the military that means something to us but didn't mean much to the anybody else.

So over the last few weeks we have defined clear goals and expectations, cleaned up the division of department and programs amongst librarians and dropped the name "liaison." Instead we are now talking about "Your Librarian." Our goals are:

1. Partner with faculty to improve student information literacy.
2. Work with faculty and the Collection Development Librarian to develop the collection in appropriate disciplines.
3. Communicate with faculty in our areas and encourage them to communicate with us.
4. Seek innovative projects, services, and resources in partnership with faculty and students to improve library support.

We are rolling this out over the next few weeks with redesigned webpages ( will add links when these are ready) for each librarian, an announcement at the next faculty meeting, and a special issue of our newsletter. We should be set to go when everyone gets back in January. Then we will treat the Spring semester as a transition period when we work out the kinks. We have a couple of big projects in which the librarians will have to work with faculty (the beginnings of a systematic weeding of the collection, and the review of our print journal subscriptions) which should provide good opportunities for librarians and faculty to build relationships. Over the summer we will review how this is going and make adjustments.

This really isn't a huge change. There are lots of examples of our librarians developing great working relationships with faculty members and developing a sense of responsibility for a certain section of the collection. The difference is we how to do this in the future in a more intentional and strategic manner, and hopefully achieve more in terms of information literacy and a better collection.

Oh, one more thing. This program is aimed at Rollins faculty, but only because they are one of our best routes to Rollins students.

1 comment:

Rachel Simmons said...

I love the idea of clarifying the liaison role. And by the way, I just caught up on your blog and it's so rich with information! How do you have the time, Monsieur Director?