Wednesday, July 09, 2008

No Clear Standard for Liaison Duties

ALA Presentation: The Plowman and the Rancher Should be Friends: A Comparison and Discussion of Liaison Duties in Public and Academic Libraries
Speakers: Elisabeth Leonard, Peter Larsen, Ridie Wilson Ghezzi, Donna M. Colamatteo, Bruce Reid (moderator)

I attended my first ALA conference and am going to attempt to blog at least some of it. This was the first session I attended (well, after Greg Mortenson's presentation but that's slightly less job-related).

The speakers surveyed both public and academic libraries to determine if there is a standard for what liaison librarian duties should include. They discovered that there is no clear standard. However, some common liaison responsibilities include:
  • Attending panels, conferences, meetings, etc., in that liaison area
  • 79% of respondents provide subject-specific library instruction
Dartmouth College's effort to increase/improve their liaison program was mentioned. They provided a liaison training workshop in the summer for librarians. An outside person was brought in to conduct the training. They discussed:
  • What all the liaisons were currently doing
  • What challenges and strategies existed
  • How to establish trust as a new liaison
  • How liaison activities are perceived by the faculty
  • How do liaison librarians feel about their duties
They also conducted focus groups with faculty through which they found there is no single right way for liaison librarians to do their work. However, faculty overall were very interested in assistance from liaison librarians. Faculty opinions on liaison work were deemed invaluable.

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