We must develop a research library workforce that is wholly
collaborative—building and contributing to library, campus,
regional, national, and international partnerships and projects.
What has become part of the formula in job descriptions today is the ability for
library and information professionals to adapt to change and adjust priorities in
dynamic professional environments. This has never been truer as libraries work
to leverage resources and build partnerships with outside organizations in areas
such as collection management, cataloging and metadata, e-research, and large-
scale digitization. Within the institution, what is certainly needed is a workforce
with the subject expertise to engage with faculty and researchers in critical data-
management programs that include born-digital materials (images, datasets,
media) and in emerging subject disciplines.
Similarly, the models for liaison responsibilities in academic institutions are
being redefined and developed, shaped by factors such as the need to be more
fully engaged with instructional faculty in processes to determine priorities for
collection development; the need to be proactive in the determination of desired
learning outcomes in information and data-literacy exercises, etc. It is clear that
the future workforce will need to continue to evaluate those roles and build
effective collaborations that enhance the teaching and research priorities of the
constituencies they serve.
Conclusion
These imperatives are but a few of the considerations in developing a vital
research library workforce. If the modern library is to serve as the laboratory
for supporting dynamic, interactive, and sometimes experimental information
consumption and creation, then the library workforce of the future will need to
have a diverse range of skills, aptitudes, competencies, and soft skills to support
those teaching and learning methodologies. Moreover, the need has never been
greater for library and information professionals to embody a collaborative
orientation as they engage in dialogue about the information needs of their
constituencies and as they think creatively about ways to embed themselves in
the research process. So much more could be said about specific areas of
expertise needed to contribute to research and education, including knowledge
of scholarly publishing, intellectual property rights, web development and
database building, and myriad other technical competencies.
Perhaps it is time to re-think the approaches for recruitment into the
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Developing a Vital Research Library Workforce
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OCTOBER 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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