Supporting Change to Meet
Current and Future Needs
It is clear that developing the educational role for library liaisons outlined
in our early discussions at Berkeley will require significant organizational
support. Library administrators, not just library liaisons, must provide
compelling arguments about the value of including librarians in teaching and
learning initiatives. I am grateful for our administrative model, which allows
one of my colleagues to provide leadership for collections and scholarly
communication, another colleague to provide leadership for public services,
and affords me the opportunity to focus on the full spectrum of the Library’s
educational initiatives. I can attest to the crucial role of librarians with
professional backgrounds and expertise related to assessment, instructional
design, learning outcomes, and pedagogy as applied in traditional and
e-learning environments. They are able to juxtapose the general information
literacy and critical thinking issues with the disciplines and bridge conver-
sations between library liaisons, faculty, and other pedagogical specialists on
campus. As research libraries explore ways to impact instruction in new and
systemic ways, these librarians are essential.
One of the challenges of rethinking liaison roles is that the functions
identified as having the potential for greatest impact were also the areas that
Library’s Educational Initiatives Council members indicated that they did not
feel were areas of personal strength. In 2008 the Berkeley Library launched the
Instructor Development Program, designed to provide all library instructors
with opportunities to improve their skills and expand their knowledge
through a structured program that meets their needs and rewards their
participation. Chaired by two librarians who apply for a two-year position,
this program aims to create a strong community of practice within the
organization which will aid us in supporting library liaisons as they take
on new and enhanced roles.
Many questions remain about the breadth and depth of responsibilities
for library liaisons at Berkeley. For at least the next few years, campus
conversations are likely to focus on approaches for operating effectively and
creatively with fewer resources and fewer staff. While we can hope that the
economic pressures relax, on my campus we discuss the current budgetary
situation as “the new normal.” As we come to terms with the realities of “the
new normal,” develop a clearer vision of the future needs of our faculty and
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Amplifying the Educational Role of Librarians
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C O N T I N U E D
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AUGUST 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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