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Wednesday, November 7 • 1:00pm - 2:15pm
Dangerous liaisons: brainstorming the 21st century academic liaison

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Academic liaison roles have seen massive growth to an ever-broadening range of duties. Through participation in focused live polls and real-time display of responses, the captured trends and insights shared actionable ideas which participants could then bring back to their home institutions.

Beginnings: Early traditions were rooted in the subject bibliographer whose expertise was focused on library collection development. Whether individually or in collaboration with academic departments, the academic liaison, subject specialist, or subject bibliographer concentrated on selection and handoff of the purchase to the library’s acquisitions functions.

Task creep: The growth in the breadth and range of library services has greatly widened the range of academic liaisons’ duties. In addition to collection management informed by subject knowledge, the academic liaison’s close collaboration with academic departments now includes subject-focused information literacy, course-embedded research support, one-on-one research consultations, production of online research guides, advising faculty and students on quality publications and copyrights, research data support, digital scholarship, open educational resources, assessment, analytics and decision support, and more. Academic liaisons thereby feel the pull of subject expertise as well as functional expertise.

About this session: Session participants brainstormed on areas of liaison serves that work well for them, areas of difficulty, training needs, job functions to add and drop, ideas for solutions, and must-have competencies for library liaisons.


Part 1 -- Background: In Part 1, this participative session kicked off with an introduction of patterns and trends identified by ARL and ASERL studies and discussions in a recent ASERL institute.

Part 2 -- Interactive exercises:
  • 1. Job description exercise: Session participants examined current job postings for descriptions of liaison roles. Guided by interactive live polls, the participants identified key liaison functions missing from the descriptions. Next, the participants noted superfluous functions which pose distractions from liaison roles.
  • 2. Reflection exercise: Guided by interactive live polls, the session's participants reflected upon the following:
  • .         + core competencies for liaisons,
  • .         + aspects that work well in their home institutions' liaison programs,
  • .         + their liaison institutions' pain points,
  • .         + types of support needed for their liaison roles,
  • .         + ways in which administrators can help library liaisons, and
  • .         + key takeaways and ideas from this sessions that participants will try in their home institutions.
Part 3: additional readings of current liaison research.
Interactive live poll results are included in the slides posted here, the paper for the Charleston Conference Proceedings, and at https://works.bepress.com/antjemays.

avatar for Antje Mays

Antje Mays

Director of Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries
Antje Mays, Director of Collections at University of Kentucky Libraries, leads collection management efforts in support of the University's growing academic programs and research activities. An experienced linguist, translator, and interpreter, she also serves as academic liaison... Read More →

Wednesday November 7, 2018 1:00pm - 2:15pm EST
Calhoun Room, Francis Marion Hotel