Academic Libraries: Themes in liaison responsibilities
Academic Libraries: Themes in liaison responsibilities Elisabeth Leonard, UNC Chapel Hill
Overview <ul><li>Based on "RUSA Guidelines for Liaison Work in Managing Collections and Services." </li></ul><ul><li>746 respondents </li></ul><ul><li>23 different listservs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acqnet-l, APALA, Buslib-l, Cheminfo, collib-l, colldv-l, Gis-l, GovDoc-L, ili-l, LIBREF-L, Lita-l, Maps-l, Marylib, NCLA, Newlib-l , Nelig-l, Salalm, SLA CNC, SLAPAM, sts-l, Uls, Web4lib, Wess </li></ul></ul>
Overview: Type of institution Answered question: 736 32.9% 242 Private 67.4% 496 Public Percentage of responses Number of responses Type of institution
Overview: Approximate full time student enrollment (FTE) Percentage of responses Number of responses FTE Answered question: 732 49.5% 362 10,000 and over 20.5% 150 5,000 to 9,999 23.4% 171 1,500 to 4,999 7% 51 Fewer than 1,500
Overview: Carnegie classification 4% 27 Other 2% 12 Medical schools and medical centers 0.4% 3 Theological seminaries and other specialized faith-based institutions 8% 59 Associate's college 12% 91 Baccalaureate college I and II 30% 218 Master’s and Universities I & II 47% 343 Doctoral/Research I & II Percent Response Carnegie classification
W hat department do liaisons work in? Response % Response count (n) Department 2% 13 Reserves 24% 175 Other 58% 430 Reference/research services 3% 23 Interlibrary loan 19% 138 Collection development 3% 24 Circulation 7% 52 Cataloging/metadata services 10% 77 Administration 7% 55 Acquisitions
Which of these are part of your liaison responsibilities? 80 11% Other 277 37% Attending panels, conferences, meetings, etc. in user group area 65 9% Publishing in user group area (rather than librarianship) 550 74% Enables the library’s clientele to communicate their library needs and preferences to the library staff and governing body 608 82% Communicate the library’s collection policies, services, and needs to your user group 586 79% Subject-specific library instruction 702 94% Identify user needs, evaluate existing collections, remove extraneous materials, and locate resources that will enhance collections 557 75% Involve the library’s clientele in the assessment and satisfaction of collection needs Response count (n) Response percent Liaison Responsibilities
No real difference between public and private institutions 10.8% 10.9% 9.9% Other 37.2% 37.2% 37.2% Attending panels, conferences, meetings, etc. in user group area 8.7% 10.3% 5.0% Publishing in user group area (rather than librarianship) 73.9% 75.0% 71.9% Enables the library’s clientele to communicate their library needs and preferences to the library staff and governing body 81.7% 82.2% 80.6% Communicate the library’s collection policies, services, and needs to your user group 78.8% 78.8% 79.3% Subject-specific library instruction 94.4% 93.9% 95.5% Identify user needs, evaluate existing collections, remove extraneous materials, and locate resources that will enhance collections 74.9% 75.0% 75.2% Involve the library’s clientele in the assessment and satisfaction of collection needs Response Percent Response Percent Response Percent Liaison Responsibilities Total (n=744) Public Universities (n=495) Private Universities (n=242)
Instruction responsibilities Does it matter what library department you are in?
Every department is involved 85% 11 Reserves 89% 383 Reference/research services 70% 16 Interlibrary Loan 75% 104 Collection development 63% 15 Circulation 67% 35 Cataloging/metadata services 66% 50 Administration 56% 31 Acquisitions Percent n Department
<ul><li>How does adding additional expectations (outreach, pr, instruction) of the liaison contribute to or enhance their ability to find time to devote to actual collection issues? Furthermore, it can sometimes lead to an unhealthy blurring and/or neglect of other of role/responsibilities, with the less visible, less, glamorous, but absolutely essential technical job functions somehow de-valued and neglected. The philosophy that, in order to have a successful outreach and liaison program, an academic library must have *all* librarians on its staff out there doing what has traditionally been the work of public services and collection development librarians is a somewhat flawed concept. It also has the potential to leave faculty confused re who to go to for what. </li></ul>
How much time are people spending on liaison responsibilities? “ What percentage of your time involves liaison work?”
Does type of institution matter? Our expectation: research institutions would spend more time
Most time? Med schools! 6% 0% 0 5% 3% 6% 7% 51-60 7% 16% 0 2% 6% 5% 11% 61-100 6% 8% 0 2% 3% 6% 8% 41-50 11% 25% 0 3% 12% 10% 13% 31-40 27% 8% 33% 39% 26% 28% 26% 21-30 25% 17% 33% 31% 30% 28% 23% 11-20 16% 25% 33% 17% 19% 19% 13% 0-10 Mean for survey (n=741) Medical schools and centers (n=12) Theological seminaries (n=3) Assoc. college (n=59) Baccalaureate college I and II (n=91) Master's colleges and univ. I and II (n=218) Doctoral/ research I and II (n=342) % time spent
How about time spent by departmental area? Does that differ?
But, it isn’t easy to know for sure <ul><li>“ The percentage of time devoted to liaison work is hard to estimate unless one's institution has conducted an in-depth time study. First there is the question of what sorts of work are included (budget allocation process? subject specific instruction?), and second there is the great variation depending on the time of year and semester.” </li></ul>
Not all our questions were about defining liaison work Does administration value your liaison work?
Administration values your liaison work, reported by Carnegie Classification Agree Strongly 82% 69% 67 % 78 % 85% 81% 82 % Agree 12 % 33 % 0 % 19 % 10 % 14 % 12 % Neutral Dis a gree 5% 0 % 33 . 3 % 3% 6% 5 % 6% Disagree Strongly Total for entire survey (n=741) Medical schools and centers (n=12) Theological seminaries (n=3) Associate's college (n=59) Baccalaureate college I and II (n=91) Master's colleges and univ. I and II (n=217) Doctoral/research I and II (n=341)
Faculty apprecition, reported by discipline 74% 23% 3% Sciences 56% 22% 4% Social sciences 86% 10% 3% Medicine 80% 19% 3% Humanities 80% 28% 3% Engineering 69% 23% 2% Business 74% 16% 4% Arts Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree Department
<ul><li>My liaison area has expressed satisfaction with my liaison services when contacts regarding instruction and collection evaluation are LESS frequent, rather than more. I can't say as I'm satisfied with this state of affairs. </li></ul>
We also wanted to know: What professional development opportunities would you like to see offered?
It ran the gamut… <ul><li>“ Best practices for engaging faculty in the collection development process ” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Online courses with guidelines and suggestions for liaison work in specific subject areas. ” </li></ul><ul><li>“ ‘ Liaison 101 ’ for beginners ” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Some ideas for how to do liaison work w ith interdisciplinary areas ” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Collection Analysis and Collection Assessment ” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Collection assessment tools/rubrics for national accreditation purposes ” </li></ul><ul><li>“ How to present budget limitations to liaison groups. How to get feedback on journal/serial cancellations ” </li></ul>
And our last survey question Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
<ul><li>“ Ultimately, liaison activities reinforce team building, open discussion, camaraderie, life-long relationships.” </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ Liaison work is vital for the library . ” </li></ul>
<ul><ul><li>“The character of work done by people who have liaison responsibilities where I work touches so many functions and services in the library that the categories in this survey don't fit well with our work. Most of the libraries' liaisons to the departments do a little bit of everything, but some do very specialized work, others have added responsibilities such as Team Leaders or Heads of Branches.” </li></ul></ul>
Wrapping it up for academics… <ul><li>There is no clear standard for what liaison responsibilities should be </li></ul><ul><li>Liaison work is spread throughout the library </li></ul><ul><li>Liaisons would like more training </li></ul>