I’m on a new task force: the Liaison Collections Responsibilities Task Force.
“The enhanced responsibilities of our liaisons have created some very real issues regarding the amount of time that can be spent on collection development. As new responsibilities emerge, and the way in which we handle collection development has changed, it is time to examine how we are organized to manage all of these competing responsibilities.”
1. Define the collection development, instruction, outreach, and newly defined and enhanced responsibilities of our liaisons.
2. Define the ways that collection development has changed over the years.
3. Benchmark with other libraries to see how they are handling the complexities of liaison responsibilities in new, creative and innovative ways.
4. Recommend an organizational model for collection development and other liaison responsibilities that will allow us to give the proper attention to both areas in a sleek and efficient way. More than one organizational model should be recommended providing alternatives to choose from.
Back to me:
The UNCG Libraries have a “liaisons do it all” approach, in which each liaison handles collection management, teaching, outreach, promotion of scholarly communication issues and options, etc. for his/her academic departments. So we hope every liaison is very interested — and very good — at all those activities. (We do have a hard-working head of collections and scholarly communications who helps us with some of these responsibilities.)
But the list of activities only gets longer. The emphasis on scholarly communication is pretty new. Likewise assessment of teaching and ROI analysis of collections spending. So too creating online learning objects (videos, libguides, etc.) and teaching synchronous online research workshops for distance education classes. Plus embedding in every living learning community. As liaison responsibilities continue to grow, will a liaison have time to do it all, and do it well? It is realistic to expect such an exceptional skills set for each liaison?
The deadline for the task force’s report is in September. I’ll provide a few updates before then. If the benchmarking and recommendations get interesting, we’ll probably try to talk about this at the Charleston Conference in the fall. Should make for a discussion-rich program…