Spring break is here. I’m at work for two days before flying up to Michigan to visit family. There’s not too much on my plate before then. This afternoon an intern from NC LIVE will be videotaping interviews with another UNCG librarian and me. The interviews will be part of a video in celebration of NC LIVE’s 15th anniversary. I will be talking about NC LIVE and BLINC working together to promote the contribution of libraries to economic development in the state. By tomorrow afternoon I will review the applications for our new science position (more on that below) and finish this blog post.
Last week ended early but eventfully. On Thursday in MKT 426 the students turned in their trade data split-share analysis, and Professor Williamson and I began discussing their “First Interim” assignment, in which the students do extensive research into the exporting market strategies of U.S. and non-U.S. export competitors. Since most of that work is centered on database searching, and since Professor W. had to leave early to serve as a panelist on a faculty forum concerning technology transfer/innovation commercialization and the promotion and tenure process, I was the lead teacher for the period and the solo teacher for the second half. At the end of class I had to deal with a quite upset student who had begun this assignment early but hadn’t noticed that Prof. W. requires the students to provide evidence of each keyword search used in each database and search engine as well as the preliminary search results. (My interaction with that student would have been another good case study in the book chapter I recently wrote regarding the communication triangle between the co-teaching librarian, professor, and students.) Over the weekend that student emailed me an apology for being upset. This student makes some of the most interesting points in discussions so I’m glad he’s feeling better about the class.
I was able to shut down my office by 5pm and then head to the Greensboro Coliseum for the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament. My wife and I played hooky from our libraries to catch three games on Friday. Now back at work after the three-day weekend and watching our team win it all on Sunday.
So back to reviewing applications. I’m chairing the search committee for our new Science Liaison Librarian position. We have long had a health science librarian position, but the other sciences haven’t really been a priority in terms of outreach-oriented liaison work. This new science position is our first liaison search since our task force report was written and affirmed by Library Administration.
The position description reflects many aspects of our reorganization of liaison work:
- Work collaboratively with science faculty to develop, deliver and assess information literacy for science student in a variety of formats and platforms.
- Work with science faculty and students to develop data management and data curation plans for their research.
- Educate and inform faculty and graduate students on scholarly communication issues such as open-access initiatives, digital publishing and copyright.
The position description also mentions more traditional liaison work like creating research guides and providing research consultations.
Absent from the description is our new department name (which doesn’t exist yet) and a reference to our upcoming emphasis on working in subject teams. I should have suggested something like “experience with working with teams” in the job posting when our AD for Public Services shared a draft description with me; that would have made a good “preferred qualification”. But the search committee can ask candidates about that in interviews.
Also absent from the description is an expectation that the liaison will be providing general reference services. By 2014 it seems likely we will have a triage model for the reference desk. I would guess our new science librarian will spend a little time on the Reference Desk for 2013-14 (as I do) but general reference work will never be a significant part of his or her time.
Collection development is listed in the description (“Develop print and electronic collections in liaison areas”) but only as the 6th bullet point under “Responsibilities”, reflecting the trend to deemphasize such work for liaisons.
We had the usual discussion about how much emphasis to place on having a science degree and science librarianship experience. Many other academic libraries are searching for science librarians right now too – it’s interesting to see what decisions those libraries have made regarding the science experience. It looks like we ended up with a moderate stance.
So far the pool of applicants looks pretty good, despite the historic challenges of hiring librarians with science backgrounds (particularly for positions based in general libraries). So fingers crossed.
p.s. Hmmm is it harder to hire a good science librarian or business librarian? Could be a good discussion to have in a bar during a library conference sometime.