new roles to liaison portfolios automatically raises the question of whether
existing liaisons feel comfortable and competent in these roles. At the University
of Minnesota Libraries, we engaged in a knowledge, skills, and abilities
inventory that allowed individuals to identify areas where they felt they had
expertise and areas where they needed to learn more. Results of the inventory
were returned by department, not individual, so that liaisons would not feel
constrained in their self-reporting. The results of the inventory are being used to
guide staff education efforts. Each year, liaisons set individual goals as part of
the performance evaluation process and are encouraged to write both stretch
and learning goals. The performance evaluation process itself was revised
several years ago to bring evaluations into alignment and more accurately reflect
A Framework for Articulating New Library Roles
C O N T I N U E D
AUGUST 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
A Sample Element from the Position Description Framework:
Minnesota’s Position Description Framework document offers explication for each of ten areas,
with examples of activities that would commonly be included. For example:
• Educate and inform faculty, graduate students, and campus administrators
about scholarly communication issues. Examples include:
• Helping faculty and graduate students to understand their rights as authors
• Contributing content to Libraries’ copyright and/or scholarly communication Web sites
• Advocate for sustainable models of scholarly communication.
• Work closely with faculty and students to understand their changing workflows and patterns of scholarly
communication; assist in the development and creation of tools and services to facilitate scholarly communication.
• Recruit content for the University Digital Conservancy (Minnesota’s institutional repository)
This new role was implemented through the Scholarly Communication Collaborative that was launched by the
Libraries about three years ago. It provides a useful model of the processes, issues, and challenges that have arisen
as each element in the framework was articulated and integrated into liaison work. The group, which consists of
liaisons and other librarians from our Collection Development office, planned and executed a mini-immersion
program with speakers, designed to give all librarians in the system a solid foundation in scholarly communication
issues. They also engaged all liaisons in an extensive environmental scan.
The rich results included identification of campus faculty who serve as journal editors and officers in scholarly
societies, analysis of campus tenure policies for their consideration of alternative publications, and identification of a
number of champions. Several of these champions lent their photos and points-of-view to the newly created
Transforming Scholarly Communication Web site. Liaisons also recruited content for the University Digital
Conservancy prior to its launch, so the UDC went live with content representing a wide range of disciplinary areas.
We also had strong liaison participation in the ARL New Model Publications Study last year.