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Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 291 2017
Editor’s Note
M. Sue Baughman, ARL Deputy Executive Director and RLI Editor
While not a new topic, many conversations are occurring about
the roles of library staff and the changing nature of their work in
support of research, teaching, and learning. Boundaries between
specific functions or departments within the library continue to
change as library employees grapple with issues of their roles in
new service models. Staff are encouraged and expected to work
more collaboratively and this is happening in a number of ways.
In these conversations the word “holistic” is often used to
describe what is intended in this changing work. According to
the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, holistic means “relating
to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather
than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.”
The term “integrated” is also frequently used to express this
vision for the current and future states of librarianship.
Three articles in this issue of Research Library Issues explore
different models and approaches to holistic librarianship and the
convergence among librarians in a variety of roles. These articles
speak to how three different libraries are transforming what has
traditionally been more fragmented or specialized service.
The Cornell University Library uses a decentralized approach to
scholarly communication that means library liaisons are often dealing
with multiple and competing priorities. Realizing the challenge
this model creates for advancing scholarly communication goals,
library staff formed a Scholarly Communication Working Group
charged to raise awareness of issues, tools, methods, and services
for scholarly communication. In their article, “A Team- and Project-
Based Approach to Advancing Scholarly Communication Initiatives
across the Library,” Ashley Shea, food and agriculture librarian, Gail
Steinhart, scholarly communication librarian, and Jim DelRosso,
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