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Rethinking the Role of Academic Librarians: Exploring New Liaison Models

BGSU University Libraries Liaison Retreat - Mileti Alumni Center, March 3, 2014

Eileen Bosch

on 11 June 2015

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Transcript of Rethinking the Role of Academic Librarians: Exploring New Liaison Models

Even with emerging technologies and digital scholarship, soft skills are still in demand
non-permanent hires to address challenging times
Every librarian should lead from whatever position they hold
Invest in professional development to retrain/retool liaisons expertise
Need more robust marketing
Liaison Kit
Trend 3: Organizational flexibility must meet changing user needs
Rethinking the Role of Academic Librarians:
Exploring New Liaison Models

Engagement requires outward focus
“We don't just need change, we need breakthrough, paradigm-shifting, transformative, disruptive ideas.”
Think Different
What can we create today that will be essential tomorrow?
reskilling / upskilling
libraries are
Trend 1: Develop user-centered library services
Think like a startup!
new roles in research services:
focus on interdisciplinary research, create faculty profiles, and
provide other workshops or consultations

expanding roles in support of teaching and learning:

teaching online courses

user experience:
new types of librarian positions focused on UX copyright, intellectual property, and
scholarly communication
Trend 2: A hybrid model of liaison is emerging
Willing to have flexibility to try new things -- take risks.
Jack of all trades?
Trend 4: No liaison is an island
New roles mean new use of space. We can't support digital scholarship, media production, collaboration, and other methods of scholarly communication in environments designed for print access and individual study spaces.
Need to provide spaces for collaboration and foster interdisciplinary research.
Trend 5: Collaboration is key
Trend 6: Create and sustain a flexible workforce
Mathews, B. (2012). Think Like A Startup: a white paper to inspire library entrepreneurialism.
“We have to exceed our imaginations. We can’t just find new ways of doing the same old things. What we really need right now are breakthrough, paradigm-shifting, transformative, and disruptive ideas.”
How can we expand our notion of teaching—particularly from the perspective of instructional support and innovation?
merged service points
patron driven acquisitions
Roles based more on what our users do rather than traditional collection development, reference, and instruction.
Library as a conduit on campus
Liaisons play 2 roles:
advocate and consultant
with emphasis on campus engagement
BGSU University Libraries
Mileti Alumni Center
March 3, 2014

"The overarching framework for all changes is an increasing focus on what users do (research, teaching, and learning) rather than on what librarians do (collections, reference, instruction)."
"Liaisons have to invest in preparing themselves before they talk to faculty. It's not just knowledge and preparation that's required, it is deeper change in mindset - one that also requires opportunism."

What we need to do?
be intentional
be open to new ideas
be proactive
engage with stakeholders
politically savvy
team players

1. The agenda will be our guide, but we’ll make
adjustments if needed.

2. We will focus on selecting a model for our
liaison program. By model, we mean the
organizational structure that determines
how liaison work is distributed to meet the
needs of the BGSU community.

3. Defining the scope of new liaison roles and
specific expectations will not be our focus
today. The Dean has given us general
direction, stressing the need for engagement
with faculty across campus. Her direction
will inform our work today & help us lay
the groundwork for a liaison structure that
we can adapt as we implement it to meet
our needs.
What to expect

1. Start with an open mind. Be open to exploring new ideas!

2. Though it’s a very natural reaction, please try not to focus on “how will this idea affect
me?” Try to focus on the whole.

3. Be sure everyone gets a chance to participate and voice an opinion. If you’ve already
voiced your thoughts on a topic, please wait to speak up again until everyone has had a

4. Expressing concerns and frustrations is allowed and probably necessary, but please try
to stay positive and remain focused on moving forward.

5. Please be respectful of your colleagues. A variety of ideas and differences of opinion
are healthy. Everyone should feel free to express their thoughts and not feel like
they’ll be judged negatively.

6. Don’t expect to find the perfect solution today. No model will be perfect, but let’s find
the one that will work the best for us!

Ground Rules:
How can we engage with faculty and establish collaborative partnerships across our institution?
Full transcript