One of our reference interns (UNCG LIS students) approached me this week to ask about doing a practicum on liaison work. She is a second-year intern and also a student in my entrepreneurship research class. In fact, she’s the kind of student you really want to have in your class – one who often helps get a discussion going by responding to a question with a thoughtful and interesting idea. So I was pleased she asked about the practicum.

We discussed possible aspects of the experience:

  • Helping teach upper-level, subject-specific classes;
  • Observing professor-librarian interactions in co-teaching classes;
  • Observing and helping with consultations and research questions;
  • Attending faculty meetings;
  • Learning about collections work like database evaluations, budget-cutting plans, and patron-driven acquisitions for both firm order and approval books.

I’ve coordinated two “business librarianship practicums” before, but both really ended up being more like independent studies focusing on learning business databases. The public service aspects of business librarianship weren’t a priority. So I’m excited about the possibility of working with a liaisonship practicum student in the fall semester.

Have any of you worked with a liaison practicum student before? I would love to know what the practicum experience looked like.

[Last time I forgot to include a really good recent article. I added that article to the short literature review.] Some notes I’ve taken recently, mostly from teaching ENT 530.

First, regarding research tools:

1. The American Community Survey provides some new “product types”:

  • Narrative profiles (back by popular demand?)
  • Geographical comparisons and rankings
  • Time comparisons (ex. 2010-12 v. 2007-9)

I usually teach students to use a database like SimplyMap or DemographicsNow to make rankings and time comparisons, but it’s nice to have ACS data as an alternative, at least for large geographies. Census "product types" 2. The value of 1-year ACS data v. 3-year data for the same places. Students asked “when should I use 1-year data or 3-year data?” After studying an ACS manual, my answer:

  • Value of 1-year ACS data = most current data
  • Value of 3-year ACS data = higher quality data.

3. The BizMiner “Industry Market Reports” include summary data for start-ups, some of my students learned. So users aren’t limited to the “Micro Firm Profit-Loss Reports” for start-up data. BizMiner Example from the Industry Market Reports

Interacting with students

4. For a class that has no prerequisites (except junior-status or higher), you can’t assume that students have knowledge of even basic business concepts, ex. “nonprofit” or “sales”. So be extra careful when using terms and jargon.

5. The Accounting masters students are usually very smart and capable, even if some of them don’t like to speak up in class. Try to take advantage of their capabilities during small group active learning time.

6. Students don’t think New Yorker cartoons are very funny. (Sigh. I’m not much of a joke teller, so showing cartoons has been plan B for bringing humor into the classroom. Sometimes my misspellings on the whiteboard are amusing, apparently.)

Teaching strategies:

7. Guest teachers are great! It’s like taking a mini-vacation from teaching. No wonder librarians sometimes get asked to guest-teach even when the class has no research projects.

8. Math is really hard for some students, like Marketing and Library Science majors. Do I feel guilty for making the students do some basic calculations and unit conversions? Heck no.

9. Ratios continue to be a pain to teach. I really need to work on that. Or videotape my friend Mary Scanlon from Wake Forest University, who teaches this topic really well, and show that video in class.

10. The paperless classroom works fine. Students have to email me their assignments and exhibits (downloads from data sites and databases in appropriate formats, or sometimes screen captures), which I filter into email folders for each assignment. There have been no problems with this approach.

About myself

11. Teaching a credit class is really fun and makes my day.

Catching up:

This has been the longest span between posts for this blog so far. I could blame that on a busy teaching and consulting schedule throughout February, but I’ve posted before in the heart of liaison season. So no excuses. (I do have a bad cold, though, so I will beg tolerance of the likely higher-than-usual rate of typos.)

This week is spring break and while I’ve had some consults and met with two instructors to discuss a new assignment for the fall semester, it’s been a quiet week over all. I’ve been working on writing projects and administrative tasks like the annual report and updated CV for my upcoming 5-year post-tenure review (my first such review). My annual report includes a list of 2013-14 accomplishments. For my first accomplishment, I decided to try to make a point to administrators in my library:

1. Benefited from the publicity for my Coleman Fellowship and teaching a 3-credit class within the Bryan School by expanding my presence and services. For example, I was asked to work with a number of STH and FIN classes for the first time. I also began to get direct requests from the business school dean (as opposed to through one of the Assistant Deans). Also, more faculty asked me to help with research projects, including both new faculty and tenured faculty who had never contacted me before for research support.

Why did I feel the need to justify the value of teaching a credit class?

Micro literature review:

In 2010, Martha Fallahay Loesch wrote “Librarian as Professor: A Dynamic New Role Model” for SLA’s Education Libraries (Vol. 33, No. 1). She makes an impassioned case for librarians to teach credit-classes within subject areas, not just LIB 100/basic information literacy classes:

Think beyond information literacy instruction and collaborative teaching and consider teaching in their own specialty field or perhaps a university core course, thereby joining the ranks of the teaching faculty on campus. (p.31)

Loesch provides a few examples of Seton Hall librarians teaching within academic departments:

Librarians at Seton Hall have also branched out to other realms of teaching credit-bearing courses; teaching in their specialty field based upon their second master’s degree or work experience. A cataloger teaches in the Women and Gender Studies program, part of the Elizabeth Ann Seton Center for Women’s Studies on campus, and a reference librarian serving as the library liaison to the Stillman School of Business, teaches a business course. A science librarian with a doctorate in anthropology was approached by the Anthropology Department in the College of Arts and Sciences to consider teaching in their program. (p.34-5)

The article might go over the top regarding the transformative value of this new role (like writings about embedded librarians that suggest embedded librarianship can solve all problems) but does challenge us to not to get complacent with our teaching roles.

More recent is “Walking a Mile in their Shoes: Librarians as Teaching Faculty” by Arcadia University librarians Adam Balcziunas and Larissa Gordon, in College & Research Library News (April 2012).  The authors describe how teaching credit classes

has changed our perceptions of [other] faculty. We have also seen our teaching experience change how faculty members view librarians, and it has helped enhance the perception of librarians as educators throughout the campus community.

So in addition to further justifying the library’s faculty status on campus, the librarians have also gained understanding of the challenges of teaching credit classes, including how precious class time can be.

Workload is the main challenge:

Teaching semester long courses technically falls outside the regular job duties of each librarian, and so we are contracted as adjunct instructors. Therefore, while we receive an additional paycheck, our time spent in class and preparing for class needs to be added to our regular hours working as full-time librarians.

But the Arcadia librarians conclude by connecting the value of teaching classes to the evolving roles of liaisons:

The librarians’ teaching efforts have seemed like very logical extensions of their liaison roles, fostering a greater immersion in the academic life of the university, and increasing collaborative activity with faculty across campus. The library director continues to encourage the librarians to teach because it “helps us to better understand faculty and gives us a broader perspective of the faculty job.” This understanding has permitted us to become active and engaged members of the campus community and to work more strategically with faculty members as we seek to more fully integrate information literacy into the curriculum.

Points of view for hard-core teaching:

I’ve mentioned before that my colleague Lynda Kellam teaches a section of Political Science 240, International System, each semester on her own time (not as part of our library hours). She has a master’s degree in Political Science as well as a MLS. Lynda teaches this class for free.

There has been some sort of UNC system or UNCG rule that “special pay” can only be awarded outside of a faculty member’s 9-month contract. However, the library faculty work 12-months a year and therefore don’t have unpaid months in the summer in which to receive special pay. This is also why my Coleman Fellow stipend is awarded to me as extra travel money, while the 9-month Coleman Fellow professors get their stipend paid as special pay.

A while ago when I taught LIS 613, the Business Information Resources & Services class, I was paid as an instructor. Then for a time we were told librarians couldn’t get paid anymore for teaching credit classes like for the LIS department. But this year my colleagues teaching LIS classes are getting paid once again. Grant-based funding like for Coleman Fellows is still different, though. So the issue of funding is confusing. I wonder how many interviews on campus it would take for me to get to the bottom of all this. But I’m not getting paid to write this blog post, so onward, heh…

Last year some liaisons learned through the library grapevine that library administrators were concerned about our extra teaching work. There was speculation that Lynda’s teaching of PSC 240 was the impetus for that concern. If there had been an open discussion about our new teaching roles, some of us would have presented the benefits to the library of more intensive teaching work with a department, like Lynda’s work with Political Science. Such teaching could be considered another type of embedded librarianship — perhaps the ultimate example of embedded work for an academic librarian.

Last month Nataly Blas led a workshop on embedded librarianship. Several library administrators attended too. Our Diversity Resident Librarian position is extremely important to our administrators. (As positions were getting frozen here this spring, administration put a higher priority on hiring our next Resident Librarian than our next Electronic Resources Librarian). And Nataly is the first of our three resident librarians to leave UNCG for a desired library job. (The first two are now working on PhDs in library science.) Nataly told me that her co-teaching embedded work proved very interesting to all the libraries she interviewed with and was probably a vital aspect of her successful candidacy with Loyola Marymount. I was pleased that the administrators heard from Nataly how interested libraries were in her co-teaching work. Would Nataly now be the business librarian at LMU without her embedded co-teaching? Many of us appreciated Nataly providing  our administrators a fresh perspective of the perceived value of intensive classroom engagement in the broader library world.

Last December I heard through the business school that the University’s Deans Council (which includes our library dean) discussed a strategic planning article that advocated recruiting librarians and staff to teach credit classes. Interest in librarians teaching credit classes is not simply a grass roots concern of some liaisons.

Selling the  teaching of ENT 530:

I agree the dividends for teaching credit-classes with an academic department can be high. So for my first listed accomplishment in the annual report I finished yesterday, I identified positive developments that I believe can be attributed to teaching ENT 530. Can I prove causality? Well, no, I don’t ask faculty and business school administrators to fill out a pre-survey before I respond to their queries or requests for help. But I’ve been the UNCG business librarian since April 2001 and always prioritized outreach, teaching, and consulting. So a jump in demand for 2013-14 is probably meaningful. Several of us liaisons are hopeful that our administrators are more open about the value of expanded teaching roles on campus.

Highs and lows

Some updates on the last day of January, organized into two categories.


1. I’m really enjoying teaching ENT/GEO/LIS 530. It’s the favorite part of my week so far this semester. I ended up with an interesting mix of students:

  • four Entrepreneurship majors or minors (seniors plus one sophomore who asked to be let in via an “add” form)
  • five LIS graduate students
  • two Accounting graduate students
  • a Geography visiting researcher (PhD student)
  • And my friend the new business librarian at the Greensboro Public Library is auditing the class.

Given how late last fall the class was added to the class registration system, I was pleasantly surprised to have that many students. I’m enjoying taking advantage of the various backgrounds and interests of the students. We are meeting in a small computer classroom in our new, swank Education School, and are finishing up our first main topic, industry data (using primarily the Census). As we get deeper into the semester and expand into other topics, I look forward to doing less “tool training” in class and more discussion and analysis of case studies and business research questions. (The Pegasus Librarian just had an interesting post about teaching with some good questions to ask students to keep them thinking critically.)

I’m reconsidering how I differentiated the graduate requirements in the class versus the undergraduate requirements. Such differentiation is required by accreditation for 500-level classes. For example, my Economic Census assignment is only required for the graduate students. But given the importance of the Economic Census (even if only used via the extrapolations of that data via databases like BizMiner and IBIS), I’ve decided to offer that assignment for the undergrads as extra credit.

2. Earlier this month, our Diversity Resident Librarian Nataly Blas blogged about her experience being embedded into our Campus Entrepreneurs class as a teaching partner. I’m happy to report that Nataly will be the next Business Librarian at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She interviewed in December and will begin working out there in March. I’ve enjoyed having Nataly as a business librarian colleague and will miss her.

She told me about networking with BRASS members at the discussion forum in Philadelphia last weekend – a good example of how BRASS continues to be a welcoming group for young and/or new librarians. (Nataly will be teaching a one-shot session for our Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community freshmen on Monday while I’m with my own ENT 530 class at the same time — yet another reason for me to miss her with she’s out west.) This is my second mentee in a row to end up on the west coast; another one moved to Stanford.


1. More budget cuts. The state continues to reduce funding of public education. Serials and databases will be cut heavily once again. Some business/economic development/entrepreneurship databases that provide unique and essential content for us will be cancelled. The faculty aren’t getting those details until March, when we ask for their feedback. Very distressing, given how much we cut two years ago, when we lost all the business databases I considered “optional”. Now any cuts are really going to hurt.

2. As I wrote earlier, ENT 300 is a Tuesday night class this semester. Well, we had inclement winter weather the last two Tuesdays and so class has been cancelled for two weeks straight. We’ve only had the first day of class three weeks ago — a tough situation for the instructor teaching 300 this semester. I did volunteer to convert my planned research instruction workshops for the class into detailed email messages, with links to my videos, in order to free up class time for the revised syllabus. But the instructor still wants me to proceed with the workshops (he values the research skills the students need to have to succeed in a class like this – very cool). I hope the class turns out ok after losing two or the first three weeks of class time. (Weather update: there’s a chance for freezing rain on Tuesday night.)

3. Finally, our liaison department (still officially Reference & Instructional Services for one last semester before a name change) is suffering from staffing shortages. Nataly is leaving soon, of course, and another excellent worker got a professional library job in South Carolina. Another staff person is very sick and in the hospital (but getting better, we learned today). And our main social science librarian, who has been here for 35 years or more, announced that she will begin phased retirement in July. So at least we will benefit from her skills and institutional knowledge on a part-time basis. But our new Social Sciences Team will have to work with her on covering the liaison work for her many academic departments. This may be a good opportunity to put into practice some goals of our liaison reorganization, such as functional work sharing. With the budget woes, if may be hard for us to refill all those positions right away. I will be concerned if we end up having to increase liaison hours at the Reference Desk. That would be a step backwards in our strategic planning. Stay tuned.

Hmm more Lows than Highs – not a good sign for this semester?

Nataly Blas is the 2012-2014 Diversity Resident at the UNCG Libraries. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, with emphasis on Hispanic Marketing, and a Masters of Library Science at Florida State University. While in library school, Nataly worked with Business Librarian Trip Wyckoff on several teaching and collection development projects. She is a member of the 2014 class of ALA Emerging Leaders.  [Update on Nataly's new position in the next post]

As an early career librarian, I am diving into the sea of academia and trying to learn student engagement techniques and how to foster faculty relationships. This semester I had the wonderful opportunity to learn more about these concepts by serving as an embedded librarian for the course BUS 206 Campus Entrepreneurs. I also want to give a very warm thank you to Steve for helping this opportunity come into fruition and for his mentorship throughout the process.

Let’s start with a little background information. Campus Entrepreneurs is a research intensive course at UNC Greensboro that gives students the opportunity to establish a viable business on campus. From a survey I conducted at the beginning of the semester, I discovered that the majority of the class was juniors and seniors, almost all had participated in a library instruction session, not all students were business majors, and nearly 60% stated that they were not very familiar with business databases.

In reviewing literature on embedded librarianship I found that the most valuable outcome of the experience is the ability to form strong relationships with faculty and students. Now that I have concluded my first semester as an embedded librarian, I fully agree with that statement. In attending class every Tuesday and Thursday, I was able to learn students’ names, become familiar with their business ideas, promote the library and its resources, and maintain a rapport with the professor. Below I have outlined five characteristics from my embedded experience:

1. Communication

Being embedded in the business course increased my visibility and helped mitigate communication challenges. During the semester I was able to communicate with students via email, Blackboard, and in-person–opportunities that usually do not exist in one-shot instruction sessions.

2. Flexibility

Embedded librarians must be flexible and be willing to seize teachable moments that may arise during the semester. I was surprised that students approached me with research questions from their other business courses and often asked general questions about the library.

3. Collaboration

Being embedded definitely helped me maintain a rapport with the business faculty member. This collaboration helped me form a clearer picture of the research needs of the business school and become familiar with business education trends.

4. Student Engagement

I greatly enjoyed the opportunity for a deeper level of student engagement. I had multiple opportunities to interact with students from the library instruction session to in-class workshops to one-on-one consultations.

5. Stronger Relationships

Again, the opportunity to build strong relationships with faculty and students is definitely the most rewarding aspect of the embedded experience. This relationship forms from constant communication, collaboration, and being part of the students’ research process.

1. Catching Up

This is the quiet week before the campus shuts down for the holiday break.

Last month, I had a new, interesting, and potentially challenging experience in one of my co-teaching classes. The professor needed an important medical procedure (he’s fine now) which ended up being scheduled the same day as three student teams were making their final presentations. The company representatives of one student team were coming, too. So the business school’s Executive-in-Residence and I had to play host to the company reps, administer the presentations, and grade the presentations ourselves. (The professor did receive paper versions of the slides and carefully reviewed them before determining the final grade of the presentations.) Happily, all three presentations were good or very good, and the company reps left happy. If any team had deserved a bad grade and received one, I wonder if the team might have protested. (In my recent book chapter, I wrote about the possible ethical issues of co-teaching embedded librarians helping with grades).

Last week at Elon University, seven BLINC friends from academic libraries gathered to demonstrate, discuss, and evaluate specialized business databases. The session was very useful as UNC campuses prepare for big budget cuts, and as the private schools consider possible swaps or additions to their current mix of databases. We looked at Freedonia, MarketLine, NetAdvantage, Euromonitor Passport GMID, Data-Planet, the Simmons and Claritas PRISM modules in SimplyMap, DemographicsNow, BizMiner, RMA eStatement Studies, Global Road Warrior, the newer modules in IBISWorld, ICPSR, and Social Explorer. This workshop also helped us look ahead to the larger BLINC quarterly workshop next month in which we once again work toward consensus recommendations for NC LIVE business databases for its 2015-7 package.

And last week my new ENT/GEO/LIS 530 class finally entered the UNCG class registration system after five months of curriculum reviews. The class had to go through six, count ‘em, six curriculum committee reviews:

  1. Library & Information Science (School of Education)
  2. Geography (College of Arts & Sciences)
  3. Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality & Tourism (Bryan School of Business & Economics)
  4. Bryan School Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
  5. UNCG Graduate Studies Committee (I’m on this committee as a non-voting member — this group answers to the graduate faculty, not the Faculty Senate, which the UNCG librarian faculty are members of)
  6. UNCG Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (chaired this year by my colleague, the excellent Jenny Dale)

[Tedious details and a short whine you might want to skip]:

The first five of those reviews happened between mid-August and mid-October. Then there was a six-week wait between #5 and #6, even though #6 had a meeting two weeks after #5’s positive vote. That was frustrating. Even though the staff coordinator of #6 was emailed the results of the #5 vote the same time I was emailed, I should have confirmed that my class was on the agenda for #6’s early November meeting. Instead, #6 reviewed and approved my class in early December, during exam week. (Registration began in in early November.) By the time the Registrar added the class to the class registration system, and then each of the three departments (MEHT, LIS, and GEO) added the class to their listings, it was the day of commencement, several days after the end of exams. So most students have already signed up for their Spring 2014 classes. However, a few students had told me they saved space in their calendar for the class, and indeed some students have signed up already. So lesson learned: double-check that the curriculum paperwork is moving along at every stage.

[Back to less tediousness]:

So, finally, my class is official and I’m looking forward to teaching it next semester!

2. Today’s Topic

Co-teaching is usually based on a strong relationship between the two teachers. I wrote about this recently and Sara J. Beutter Manus provided an example from music librarianship. So what happens when the professor moves on or retires? Will the librarian remain with the class after the break-up?

I’m considering these questions for both of the research-intensive, required classes I help teach.

In ENT 300, Professor Welsh is taking the Spring 2014 semester off to write a book on creating cross-campus entrepreneurship programs. She has worked so hard at UNCG creating our award-winning program, teaching classes, writing successful grant proposals, and publishing research articles that she certainly deserves a break. A lecturer/professor of practice, Noah Reynolds, will be teaching the class instead. Dianne told him that I have been helping teach the class, and Mr. Reynolds responded to me that he is interested in working with me. I appreciate his support, especially since we probably won’t meet until the first day of class. (Hmm maybe I should try to catch up with him before then.)

One complication is that this spring, ENT 300 will meet for three hours on a Tuesday night. Given the need to maintain a work-life balance, plus the likelihood of having some Tuesday morning events, I didn’t promise Mr. Reynolds that I would attend the full class period every week. Most weeks I might try to just stay until the break time halfway through the class.

I look forward to working with Mr. Reynolds and appreciate Professor Welsh recommending me to him. In Fall 2014, I assume Professor Welsh will be teaching ENT 300 once again.

In MKT 426, Professor Williamson has been talking about retiring pretty soon. He might do a phased retirement in order to focus exclusively on teaching Export Odyssey. It’s hard for me to imagine Export Odyssey living on without Professor Williamson, but he thinks it certainly can. He mentioned that a professor who researches global teams might be interested in working with us on creating an online version of the project. I’ve yet to discover a research-intensive online business course at UNCG yet, so that would be an interesting development. I remain co-author of the Export Odyssey text, so I would remain plugged-in to developments with the class. We’ll see what happens. Of course, a new professor of international marketing could perhaps decide not to bother with an experiential learning, export promotions project like Export Odyssey. That’s a possibility too.

3. Concluding thoughts:

First, most embedded librarians have learned that the sustainability of their large time commitments is a key issue. However, here the issue is the sustainability of the co-teaching relationship. If the co-teaching librarian wants to remain with the course as the professor of record changes, the librarian needs to make sure the department head or program coordinator understands and appreciates the value the librarian provides. The librarian really needs to be wedded to the class, not just the professor.

Second: Of course, the librarian needs to decide if he or she likes the new professor and can work well with him or her.

Finally, a change in professor of record might be the best time for the librarian to drop out of the co-teaching role in order to free up time for new priorities or other embedding opportunities. Part of sustainability is knowing when to say “no,” and a break-up with a professor might be just the time to do so.

That’s it for 2013 for me. Thank you for reading my blog, and I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday break.

Two of my colleagues (Jenny Dale and Lynda Kellam) and a friend (Lauren Pressley, now at Virginia Tech) presented in April at ACRL on their interesting concept of library personas. Part one of their program defined library personas and provided short videos of librarians describing their own perceived personas. In part two, Jenny, Lynda, and Lauren discussed how library organizational schemes could take advantage of librarians’ personas to maximize effectiveness and work satisfaction. They used UNCG’s proposed liaison reorganization as the example, showing our proposed model as well as a video of Amy Harris and me discussing our liaison reorganization process. Questions from the audience began at the 49th minute mark and focused on our reorganization. The audience provided interesting perspectives, as did Jenny and Lynda.

We are six months into the transitional year between our Reference & Instructional Services Department and our new liaison department. We are making good progress with no surprising developments yet. Well, the discussion of a new name might be dramatic – some folks really care about the name. I contend that library departmental names are largely for internal consumption, unlike a job title or the names of service desks and learning spaces. But a department name does indicate strategic focus and establish expectations. That’s important stuff.

Our three new subject teams (Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences) have met a few times as our workloads permit and have begun to work on projects and cross-training. I’m in our Social Sciences team; the aforementioned Lynda Kellam is our very capable coordinator. This semester we have worked on a few projects:

  • Updating our various liaison-related statistical forms to better reflect our contributions and time commitments (for example, when you help create a graded assignment, how should that good work be recorded?)
  • Discussing classes that require large-prep time for instruction work (think of an experiential learning business class in which student teams are working with local companies from different industries); this was more of a peer-support session than a project, but oh it was useful and rewarding to share experiences and ideas.
  • Curriculum mapping of research instruction in all social science and business departments; stage two will be identifying departments that could use more instruction.
  • Nataly Blas is leading a workshop tomorrow morning on co-teaching embedded librarianship (she is co-teaching the Campus Entrepreneurs class this semester).
  • And updates from the functional teams.

The Humanities Team is pretty large, with 9 or so members, but our Science Team only has two (one of those recently hired as a new position). I think it would be better ideally for Science to have three members in order to support brainstorming, sharing of skills, etc., However this team has invited a temporary librarian to assist in projects, and she accepted. (We probably wouldn’t have gained the second science position were it not for the strategic planning in our liaison reorganization work.)

We currently have three functional teams.

The Instruction Team led a reflective teaching workshop yesterday that I heard was really good, but I missed it for a BLINC workshop on business databases at Elon University.

The Collections Team is working on plans for different levels of budget cuts for 2014-15. The UNC system is taking another big budget hit courtesy of our state government. (Search YouTube for recent Daily Show clips about the North Carolina legislature). The new team structure seems to be working well with that process, as opposed to how our old, large, monthly collections meeting used to function and bore us pretty silly. The Collections Team created sub-groups to focus on databases, journal, and books. Beth Bernhardt, our new head of Collections, serves on all three subgroups; the subsequent demands on her time should probably be considered a downside of our functional teams approach, but my friend Beth knew what she was getting into when she applied for the job!

The other functional team so far is the Reference Desk Team. This one is interesting. The co-chair is a librarian who prefers to have reference librarians on the desk as much as possible. Meanwhile, the official goal here as at many other libraries is to move to a triage model of desk staffing. So we are still working on staffing issues. Our student worker budget will certainly be cut for 2014-15, so we might have fewer hours for our LIS student reference interns. That’s a shame for providing that paid learning opportunity for the students, and also might increase the need to have liaisons staffing the reference desk.

Mary Krautter, our liaison department head, continues to provide strong leadership as we work on our transition. We had a rare full liaison meeting on Monday to review our goals and get caught up on developments. It was a large group and a two-hour meeting but the event moved along at a good clip, and I think we all enjoyed the sharing and discussions.

So, so far so good. Despite the attention it gets in presentations like the Library Personas at ACRL, our reorganization is really not too dramatic. Instead it reflects the evolving role and priorities of subject specialists, as defined by the librarians here as we spent a year planning the reorganization we wanted. Now we are halfway through making that plan a reality.


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