Liaison Program Pairs Librarians with Faculty

Submitted by liblawlord on
Filed under Library News:  Mills Innis Thode

McMaster University Libraries are launching an exciting new initiative, Library Liaison @ Mac, which will match librarians with academic departments, schools and programs to ensure that library services and collections are closely aligned with teaching and research priorities. Liaison librarians will work collaboratively with faculty and in the upcoming year will focus on achieving four key priorities:

  • Building partnerships between liaison librarians and their assigned departments, schools or programs
  • Partnering to teach 21st century fluencies
  • Managing access to scholarly literature
  • Providing research consultations for faculty, graduate students and research assistants

Reuven Dukas, associate professor of Psychology, hails Library Liaison @ Mac as "a wonderful idea," commenting that "it makes sense to have more integration and for librarians to have a personal interaction with faculty, graduate students and undergraduates." Dukas goes on to say, "it's great to have a face people can refer to in the library."

Over the next year, liaison librarians will be focusing on making connections in campus departments, schools and programs. They will work on building external relationships and stimulating conversations between people who, up until now, may not have had much contact.

Sam Minniti, executive director of the McMaster Association for Part-time Students, is excited about this proactive move.

"Particularly for part-time students, who may be slightly removed from campus, it's important to have a solid connection with someone in the library," he says.

Liaison librarians will be available to help teach 21st century fluencies, including information fluency, visual literacy, numeracy and media literacy.

Claude Eilers, associate professor in the Department of Classics, is particularly excited about the teaching role of liaison librarians and looks forward to integrating library education in the classroom.

"Really what you want to do is to have integration into the curriculum," says Eilers. "Together with the liaison librarian, we can work on coming up with a plan of increasing complexity for library education in first, second, third and fourth year courses, for example."

Liaison librarians will work collaboratively with faculty to manage access to scholarly literature, including books, journals and electronic resources.

Joe McDermid, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, strongly approves of forming tighter links between departments and librarians. He sees the role of professional librarians as key in the selection and purchasing of research materials.

"We need to make sure that our collections are balanced," says McDermid, who stresses that there are areas where too many things can fall through the cracks.

Again, liaison librarians will not only be working closely with faculty, but also with students. Liaisons will be providing personalized research consultations for faculty, graduate students and research assistants, offering guidance for literature reviews, and sharing updates on research tools and resources necessary for a particular research area.

To find out more about Library Liaison @ Mac, please contact Jeannie An, the director of library liaison.