Saturday, March 31, 2007

Technical "difficulties"

Well, my plan of nightly postings from my Baltimore hotel room recapping the events of the day here at ACRL 2007 have not panned out: being in a hotel that does not grant free wireless access to guests was not a roadblock I had fully anticipated! As most of the sessions have been highly engaging and I have not wanted to miss anything, I sacrificed timely posts in lieu of expanding my knowledge, which I feel certain is not a problem with anyone. That said, I do hope to get some reflections from Friday and today posted soon, with more to follow in short order.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Liaison Preconference

Taking Your Library Liaison Program to the Next Level: Strategies for Outreach and Integration
Craig Gibson, Associate University Librarian, George Mason University; Jamie Coniglio, Head, Reference Department, Fenwick Library, George Mason University

Four themes must be understood in order to operate effective liaison programs:
1. Culture
2. Structure
3. Relationships
4. Perceptions

These themes must be understood both within the library and externally throughout the institution (ie, how we fit into the institution as a whole)

Librarians are not the only ones challenged by the changing information infrastructure.
Faculty are also being challenged and our approach to liaison programs must reflect this

Librarians, particularly in liaison roles, need to be proactive, not reactive, change agents. Liaisons can encourage culture change through contacts on campus

The distinctions between consumer and creator are blurring (think Web 2.0), and as such our focus as liaisons needs to become more fluid: we need to move from supporter to partner, becoming an integral part of the academic enterprise. Liaisons should be seen as central to the programs/departments they serve

Liaisons need to have a nuanced understanding of the culture in which they are working to be effective. This culture also includes the "unconscious infrastructure", which is often more powerful than the explicit culture recorded in organizational charts and policies manuals

Liaisons should have a broad knowledge of the following areas:
*Demographic changes in students, faculty
*Teaching and learning changes
*Bibliographic organization and knowledge management
*Curricular changes
*Technological changes
*Research agendas and priorities
*Scholarly communication system

Faculty buy-in for liaison programs is key, but such support is hard to gain when faculty don’t understand us and don’t have time to listen to our explanations. Unlike our profession, which is collaborative in nature, faculty culture is more individualistic

Just as change takes time, so too does building an effective liaison program. However, people need to see symbolic representations of change, so at some point we have to stop talking and start doing!

Look for previously existing relationships (often built by library administrators) to leverage when identifying supportive stakeholders within departments

When building a liaison platform, communication between, among and with librarians is crucial in enabling liaisons to have the foundation from which they can develop their own structured plan within different departments. Let institutional goals be the drumbeat driving liaisons

Once a liaison program is up and running, maintain connectivity among liaison librarians through blogs, monthly lunches, periodic assessments. Don’t let your liaisons feel lonely!

Liaison programs, like all library services, must be marketed. Although word of mouth is always the best marketing tool, planning the sale and what you will do to meet your target is key

Identify and know your stakeholders. Find communication channels during which the liaison program might be emphasized: coffee, lunch/dinner, drinks, shared walk to parking lot

Check out the preconference wiki:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sharing made easy!

Following the lead of our esteemed colleagues over on the Reynolda Campus, and with encouragement from MollyB & Julie, I'm creating a blog where we can share tips & tricks, bytes & insights from the various professional development activities we each attend. Although sharing knowledge gleaned from meetings, workshops, and conferences via emailed synopses & handouts is beneficial, if you don't have time to read them immediately, such emails can get lost amid the inbox shuffle. By creating a centralized place that we can all contribute to, regardless of locale (ideally we will post while attending such activities, so the info is fresh...but back at work is fine too), we will be better able to track and synthesize the multifaceted professional development pursuits of Carpenter librarians!