Have you ever wondered which subject-specific databases the library has? There’s a librarian for that! Interested in bringing in your class to learn some research skills? There’s a librarian for that too! Is there a book missing in our collection that is essential to your subject? We can purchase it! These are just some examples of the magic behind library liaisons. Unfamiliar with the program? Then read on!
The Library Liaison program is a service that connects you with a librarian who has expertise in your subject area. To learn more about this resource I spoke with two librarians, Erika Johnson, the Head of Acquisitions and Collection Management, and Joe Garity, a Reference Librarian and the Coordinator of Library Instruction.
I asked them to describe the liaison program in terms of its benefits as a library service. Erika put it this way: “Liaisons are the conduit between academic programs and the library. This critical outreach function ensures that we are best serving the specific research and information literacy needs of students and faculty in each discipline.”
Often people have questions or need help with research and don’t know who to ask. A goal of the liaison program is for faculty, staff, and students to get to know a librarian…
Joe said: “Often people have questions or need help with research and don’t know who to ask. A goal of the liaison program is for faculty, staff, and students to get to know a librarian who knows their subject area and can work with them. So when classes come to the library for research instruction or when students make one-to-one appointments for help, their subject liaison librarian is the person who meets with them.” This translates to resources available outside the classroom that are meant to help faculty and their students thrive and ensure academic excellence.
So what are these resources? Well, for starters, it’s one-on-one meetings with a librarian. Here, faculty meet with their liaison to help with research needs. Students can also utilize this service. Then there’s information literacy classes, Joe’s domain, where the goal is to get students comfortable with the library’s research services. In this classroom-like session students learn about library resources, including how to navigate our catalog and databases. Students also learn how to research specific subject areas. You can also take a tour of the library and hear about the building itself and its many services beyond the liaison program. For more on library instruction and tours, click here.
And then there’s the collection development portion, which is one of Erika’s primary roles. The library, in line with the University’s mission, strives to acquire materials that will help faculty and students achieve successful academic careers. We therefore need the input of faculty when it comes to the library’s collection. Erica helps faculty “with ordering or cancelling library materials and soliciting their feedback on other collection management projects.”
Library Liaisons are here for you! Whether it’s for research support, library instruction classes, or recommending materials for our collection, we’d love to hear from you.
Some final thoughts on the program: Joe feels the goal “is to give the library a human face, someone who is available to engage with when doing research,” while Erika implores: “Library Liaisons are here for you! Whether it’s for research support, library instruction classes, or recommending materials for our collection, we’d love to hear from you. If you have any suggestions on how we can improve our liaison services, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with your liaison.”
Next time you are putting together your syllabus, don’t forget your liaison! When searching our catalog and your required book isn’t there, don’t forget your liaison! When students ask questions about citing sources, don’t forget your liaison!
Be sure to check out all the benefits of the liaison program and find your liaison on our website. I invite you to meet your liaison, and hope to see you in the library.