Blackwell Library
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Librarian Liaison Duties

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Purpose of Blackwell Librarian Liaison Program

A liaison is a Library faculty designated as the formal contact person between the Library and a particular academic unit (school, department, or center). In keeping with the Library’s mission, the primary responsibility of a liaison is to meet the unit’s information needs through instruction and other support for teaching, collection development, research assistance to faculty and students, and the fulfillment of other unit needs related to the Library such as support for accreditation reviews. The accomplishment of these responsibilities requires excellent communication and collaboration with the faculty of the unit as well as creative engagement with both faculty and students from the unit. The liaison must become immersed in the scholarly life of the unit in order to understand its needs and become a trusted partner for the unit. The liaison also serves as an "ambassador" for the Library to the unit, promoting the Library’s resources, services, and events, and advocating for support of the Library's needs. You can view a list of the current library liaisons here.

Instruction and Support of Teaching

Objective: Work with departmental faculty and students to provide discipline-related Library instruction and other support for teaching and course activities and assignments.

  • Remain mindful of all student populations (on-campus, off-campus, transfer, etc.) when designing instruction and providing teaching support.
  • Each semester, provide tailored Library/information literacy instruction in the subject area.
  • As needed, create and maintain user guides and/or instructional materials (web pages and paper handouts).
  • Create and maintain subject-specific and course-specific online guides (LibGuides) highlighting both relevant Library collections/resources and high-quality resources available freely online.
  • Identify additional courses or programs where instruction/information literacy can be incorporated [Research Methods, Honors, Living Learning Communities (LLC), etc.].
  • Work closely with the department and try to get the department to accept a formal agreement with the Library for Information Literacy (IL).
  • Prior to the beginning of each semester, contact all faculty teaching courses identified in departmental agreements for IL and offer your assistance. Also contact any other faculty teaching courses you believe would benefit from your assistance, even if that assistance is not specifically IL-related. If there is no formal agreement, at a minimum, contact all faculty teaching methods courses, research seminars, or graduate courses in the department to offer your assistance.
  • Annually, participate in peer evaluation of instructional sessions.
  • Hold regular office hours in the Library, in the department, or elsewhere and post those on your office door and on your faculty web page.
  • Explore various teaching techniques and incorporate active learning in classes, when possible.
  • Participate in internal workshops and other professional development opportunities relating to instruction.
  • Explore and evaluate opportunities for teaching with technology [TurningPoint (clickers), Panopto, iPods, etc.].
  • Initiate conversations with faculty to serve as an embedded librarian in specific courses.
  • Each semester, collaborate and coordinate with the Library staff person who is coordinating distance library services to stay up to date on all Distance Education courses being taught/requiring instruction as well as all relevant resources for distance education students.
  • Each semester, for the distance courses with which you are working, work with the faculty member to identify ways in which you can support the faculty and students and also ask the faculty member to either provide you with access to the course site on the University's course management system or inform students how they should contact you.
  • Each semester, collaborate with the Access Services Librarian to make sure that faculty understand reserve policies and procedures and submit their reserve requests promptly.

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Collection Development

Objective: Work with departmental faculty in developing collections that meet the students' learning and research needs and support the faculty’s teaching and, to the extent feasible, research needs.

  • Cultivate an awareness of a) how the literature of the discipline is organized and b) the major research trends and developments that have a bearing on the collection and the curriculum.
  • Work with departmental faculty and appropriate Library staff to develop a comprehensive collection development policy for each liaison subject area.
  • Respond to faculty requests for Resource Analyses as quickly as possible.
  • Make collection policy changes as indicated by Resource Analyses and other information about new courses, programs, or concentrations.
  • Work with appropriate Library staff and departmental faculty to ensure that collection development policies are reviewed on a regular basis and revised as needed.
  • Submit orders for faculty book requests and other materials in a timely manner. If a faculty member has requested an item, please act on the request within one week, whether that action is to order the item or to explain to the faculty member why you are not ordering it.
  • Each month, monitor the Acquisitions budget report, and notify Acquisitions as soon as possible if you are not going to need all or some of your allotted funds, so that they can be re-allocated.
  • At least annually, select new materials based on collection development policies, faculty requests, and review sources.
  • At least annually, check book reviews in Choice, GOBI and other sources to identify important works that should be added to the collection.
  • Every two years, in collaboration with the Serials/Electronic Resources Librarian, analyze cost-per-use and other available parameters of journal and database usage to track trends and patterns in order to make informed decisions regarding journal content and format as well as de-selection.
  • Communicate with other liaisons about resources selected that are also relevant to their subject areas.
  • In collaboration with departmental faculty, conduct scheduled reviews and assessments of collection sections, ensuring that the entire subject area is assessed a minimum of every ten years or more frequently, if indicated by the collection development policy for the subject area.
  • Initiate and conduct regularly scheduled ongoing weeding of the collections, including both stacks and reference collections, in collaboration with departmental faculty.
  • Recommend trials for electronic resources; collect feedback from trials; submit recommendation forms for resources that should be considered for purchase.
  • Participate in Collection Development Day workshops and other professional development opportunities related to collection development.

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Research Services & Scholarly Communication

Objective: Work with departmental faculty and students to provide research assistance in identifying and accessing Library resources and services and to assist with specialized scholarly communication issues and needs.

  • Provide reference assistance using different formats — in-person, telephone, email, chat, social media, Course Management Systems (CMS), LibGuides, etc.
  • Provide in-depth research consultation to departmental students individually as well as in groups — Research Clinics, individualized research sessions, classroom visitations, etc.
  • Create tutorials in specific subject areas or to promote a particular resource and/or service.
  • Provide research assistance to faculty for their personal scholarly activities — manuscript assistance, thesis support, course-specific queries, research assistance, syllabi preparation assistance, dataset management and preservation, etc.
  • Annually, collaborate with departmental faculty liaisons to stay updated regarding faculty scholarship.
  • Annually, collaborate with the librarian in charge of the Institutional Repository to coordinate efforts towards capturing all faculty publications and creative works.
  • Provide assistance to patrons accessing Library resources and services, referring to subject-specialist librarians or specialized Library departments (course reserves, ILL, etc.) as needed.
  • Work with faculty in preparing for departmental accreditation reviews and Library site visits.
  • Direct faculty with questions about Copyright to appropriate Library personnel.
  • In conjunction with the Director of Public Services, and sometimes the Access Services Librarian, disseminate information about copyright.

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Objective: Serve as the primary conduit between the Library and the assigned school or department to become immersed in the scholarly life of the department and promote Library services and resources. Although the main departmental contact person may be the 'Library liaison,' make sure to communicate with the entire department when needed.

  • Establish a relationship with the department chair, and ask to be included in departmental meetings and/or mailing list.
  • Annually, attend at least three departmental events (at least one each semester) to become better known by and to better know the faculty. This can include departmental meetings (if you’re invited), public lectures, student research presentations, or other events.
  • Annually, have an individual meeting with each new faculty member, including adjuncts or visiting faculty. For distance faculty members, your meeting may need to be by phone, Skype, or other means, if you cannot meet in person.
  • Every three years, have an individual meeting with each faculty member, including long-term adjuncts and visiting faculty. For distance faculty members, your meeting may need to be by phone, Skype, or other means, if you cannot meet in person.
  • Actively promote Library services (Chat, Instruction, etc.) and collections (Special Collections, Leisure Reading, etc.).
  • Actively promote Library events (Research Clinics, Food for Fines, etc.).
  • Actively share information about webinars/workshops/trials of databases and/or other products.
  • Analyze trends in assigned disciplines; be knowledgeable about their accreditation needs.
  • Take the initiative to identify, meet, facilitate, and assess user expectations of Library resources and services.
  • Participate in events honoring faculty scholarship (such as Pub Night) to mingle with faculty and engage in meaningful conversations to foster partnerships.
  • Attend relevant campus-wide events and meetings and explore possibilities of collaborations (Living and Learning Communities, Writing Center, Center for Student Achievement).
  • At least once every five years, attend a discipline-specific meeting/conference to stay abreast of trends and learn more about the discipline. This meeting could be state, regional, or national, but to keep costs down, please attend a conference within an easy drive of Salisbury, such as in Washington, Baltimore, or Philadelphia.

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Created: February 2013
Last Updated: May 21, 2013