larger dialogs about changing practices that are occurring on campuses and
within disciplines. Liaison librarians need well-developed, high-trust
relationships to create strategic opportunities to participate in and influence
disciplinary and departmental decisions.
It is also evident that the range of activities addressed through liaison work
is growing. As a consequence, liaison librarians increasingly need the ability to
acquire new skills and leverage more specialized expertise among their library
colleagues in service of their clients. Liaisons cannot be expert themselves in
each new capability, but knowing when to call in a colleague, or how to describe
appropriate expert capabilities to faculty, will be key to the new liaison role. Just
as researchers are often working in teams to leverage compatible expertise,
liaison librarians will need to be team builders among library experts where this
advances client research.
New liaison roles are not emerging de novo, but rather in continuity with
established roles. Consequently, the articles describe developmental processes
from the perspective of particular roles and institutions. While there may be
growing consensus on where to go, how to make the journey is a pressing
question. Organizations will need to map out different routes to address their
particular circumstances, but for fellow travelers the authors have some helpful
observations and astute insights to offer.
Susan Logue, John Ballestro, Andrea Imre, and Julie Arendt. SPEC Kit 301 Liaison Services.
Association of Research Libraries, 2007.
To cite this article: Karla Hahn. “Introduction: Positioning Liaison Librarians for
the 21st Century.” Research Library Issues: A Bimonthly Report from ARL, CNI, and
SPARC, no. 265 (August 2009): 1–2. http://www.arl.org/resources/pubs/
RLI 265 2
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