43
Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 291 2017
This is a balance of sharing expertise, deferring to colleagues,
and presenting this needs-based, scholarship-centric and
progressive approach to meeting the needs of the library user.
Smaller archival repositories or special collections departments
housed in smaller academic libraries are often staffed, by necessity,
by individuals who may have other responsibilities that rest well
outside of the archives. Smaller institutions are often compelled
to staff the repository with a position or positions that are split,
perhaps fifty percent “outside” of the archives, and fifty percent “in.”
Additionally, some special collections libraries have limited hours
and user demands may dictate that several staff outside of special
collections need to be able to provide service for rare and unique
materials after regular special collections hours. These scenarios
represent not a challenge, but an opportunity to expand the role
of the librarian into a new area of expertise and to further mirror
research and scholarship by allowing a greater connection between
“general or regular” and “special or rare.” For the end user, this
holistic framework not only demystifies the “special” but also the
“general” in terms of identifying, finding, and using resources.
This cross-departmental model has the potential to lead to more
purposeful ideas for projects that would serve the campus community,
and would in turn improve the quality of library work. A cross-
departmental staffing model can facilitate the recognition and impact
of connections with what we do and what we have in our collections,
as well as a deeper understanding by the people in our community who
could potentially work with us. At the most basic level, library services
and work should mirror research and scholarship processes that take
place in an academic setting. The integrative access and use of primary
and secondary sources, both digital and analog, results in new scholarly
contributions as well as a melding of the myriad areas of expertise that
all librarians possess and foster. This improves service to constituents
and allows academic libraries to evolve as an integral component of
the scholarship process. A shared understanding and dissemination
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