Hope everyone is having a good summer.
Catching up: summer liaison chores
I have three weeks left of summer work mode before a two-week vacation, three days back at work (including a short workshop for MBA orientation), and then the Coleman Fellows summit in Chicago. (Professor Dianne Welsh and I will again be presenting on teaching business models v. business plans.) Return on Saturday, enjoy a Sunday with Carol, and then fall semester classes begin the next day (Monday, August 17). Whew. I’ll be co-teaching ENT 300 and MKT 426 once again, we will have a bunch of new reference interns, and LIS student Marla Means will begin her independent study on liaison trends.
This is the time of summer when I can get kind of bored at work, frankly. There are no research-intensive classes taught in the business school in the two 5-week summer semesters. And after some interesting requests for research support from faculty and grad students in early May, that source of liaison work has largely dried up for the summer. But I recently peer-reviewed a manuscript submitted to a collection development journal (never done that before), and wrote an external peer review for a tenured librarian who applied for a jump in rank. Those both took a while (appropriately so).
I’ve thoroughly updated my LibGuides (deleting a few course guides for classes I haven’t worked with for a year) and turned my “Citing Business Databases in APA Format” guide into a PDF file. LibGuides version 2 is sucky with HTML and I was tired of fighting its ugly messy nasty markup coding. It was actually liberating to rebuild that list of example citations using Word (then saving as a PDF). I expanded the background notes, adding a few database-specific notes, and added a few more sources while retaining time-saving internal hyperlinks.
Now I need to focus on updating many of my screencast videos (example: the newish interfaces in Euromonitor and Mintel). For some reason I procrastinate on that work each summer. I need some Chad Boeninger pills!
Partnering for conference programs
Richard Moniz of Charlotte’s Johnson & Wales University Library (and prolific author of library science books), Marla Means, and I just got our program proposal to the North Carolina Library Association Conference accepted. (NCLA accepts almost all submissions, so no biggie, but it’s a good state conference.) Working on that proposal was a fun summer project. Our title is “The Expanding Role of the Academic Liaison: Balancing Subject Versus Functional Skills.” The core questions we will discuss with the audience will be:
- How should libraries balance these two types of liaison roles?
- Should libraries hire functional specialists to partner with the subject liaisons, or somehow train subject liaisons to pick up the needed functional expertise?
- And how should these functional and subject specialists be organized and managed?
If you have wisdom regarding those questions, we would love to hear from you! There are some excellent-sounding programs on other aspects of liaison work as well as business librarianship (courtesy of BLINC) at NCLA 2015, so I’ll post some summaries in October.
This week Diane Campbell (Rider University), Mary Scanlon (Wake Forest University) and I finished up a program proposal for the 2016 Small Business Institute Annual Conference in New Orleans. This is a small conference for small business and entrepreneur professors. Diane has spoken at SBI a number of times, but this will be a first try for Mary and me. Our title is “Teaching Entrepreneurship Research Skills to Students: Best Practices from Three Entrepreneurship Librarians.” We should know by November if we are accepted at SBI. Maybe in 2017 we will try to speak to the professors at USASBE.
Summer readings on liaisoning
LJ (Lisa Peet) interviewed the new University Librarian of Columbia University, Ann Thornton. Thornton ended a long answer with
The library staff get engaged as well, and they’re increasingly partners with faculty in teaching and learning, and in research as well. That’s a big shift for all academic research libraries.
Peet responds “Is that something you hope to promote at Columbia?”
And Thornton replied:
Oh yes, and it’s already happening. The faculty who work closely with their liaison librarians are happy—I hear what good service they feel they get and what great rapport they have, really solid working relationships. They know whom to contact; they feel well served; they are frequently asked about what they would like added to the collections. But I think it’s less understood at a macro level how librarians are truly partnered with faculty in terms of teaching and research. We probably need to do more to tell that story, and are looking for the right ways to do that.
Very cool to hear liaison work on teaching and research touted so highly by a new director. Telling the story of liaison contributions has been an increasing emphasis here too, with encouragement from our library dean and provost.
The issues of visibility and partnering with faculty are central in a recent ACRL post by Sarah Crissinger: Navigating (New) Relationships with Faculty: Valuing Service. Sarah is a newly-hired Information Literacy Librarian at nearby Davidson College. She discusses the need for new and established liaisons to build “fruitful, collaborative partnerships” with professors. But then she pulls in other bloggers (Maria Accardi, Lauren Wallis) concerning the status of academic librarians on their campuses.
The “feminization of LIS” comes up as well as “moving beyond service”. Hmm but service can lead to collaboration and partnerships, in my experience. Providing service doesn’t have to lead to becoming a servant. Lawyers and medical doctors provide services but certainly don’t get paid like servants. Is that a fair analogy? Let’s ignore the issue of student debt for the moment!
Some of the discussion and linked posts get a little over my head with critical theory, but there are many interesting thoughts in here. Read the comments, too. Sarah took the time to reply to each of them, nice.
Last year Lauren Wallis wrote about creating a one-credit class, Honors 308: The Politics of Information with a librarian colleague. It’s always interesting to read about librarian-created classes that have a subject focus, and Lauren is frank about the process of creating this class.