16 · Survey Results: Executive Summary
a quarter reported their liaison programs as central-
ly administered.
In light of the data regarding the management of
liaison programs, it is not surprising that the current
survey indicates that liaisons report to supervisors
in nearly every possible area of library work. At 40 of
the responding libraries (60%) liaisons simply report
to their respective department heads. At 29 libraries
(43%) there are different reporting lines for differ-
ent liaisons, which supports the idea that the central
management or coordination of liaison programs
is increasingly challenging. Part of this challenge,
then, also includes communication between library
decision makers and liaisons. Fifty-three respondents
offered various examples of how this communication
occurs within their libraries, including regular group
meetings between administrators and liaisons, one-
on-one meetings between administrators and liai-
sons, email, the use of an intranet, library administra-
tor and liaison co-participation on library committees,
liaison participation in strategic planning initiatives,
regular collection of data and statistics, and other
informal methods of communication. It is significant
to note that multiple libraries reported that there is
no effective method of this sort of communication in
place or that it is currently being reviewed or explored
within those libraries.
Even though communication between library li-
aisons and library decision makers can look messy,
many libraries have developed effective methods
for liaisons to communicate with each other about
projects, issues, and best practices. Most respondents
mentioned regular departmental meetings as an effec-
tive method for sharing ideas and knowledge. Others
discussed more focused learning opportunities, such
as teaching communities, brown bags, symposia and
fora, retreats, internal workshops, journal clubs, and
disciplinary or subject-based teams.
Training and Professional Development
Structured training and professional development
also becomes an important discussion as liaison roles
expand and shift. Nearly all the responding libraries
(91%) provide training for new library liaisons. This
data is consistent with findings from the 2007 survey
on liaison services, which also found that nearly all
libraries provide some sort of training for new liaisons,
although about one fifth of these training opportuni-
ties were unstructured or informal. In the current
survey, several respondents still mentioned that train-
ing opportunities are unstructured or informal, but
many others indicated that their liaison training is
“robust” or “rigorous.” For many libraries, the train-
ing program appears to be customized to the liaison
and the tools, skill set, and knowledge that each one
will need to work with his or her assigned groups.
Respondents often mentioned mentoring as a large
part of the training process, and many also mentioned
specific tools that new liaisons needed training on,
including the Open Access Harvester tool, LibGuides,
LibAnalytics, data management tools, institutional re-
positories, ORCID, and local online ordering systems.
General areas of training mentioned multiple times
include data management, scholarly communication,
collections, reference, instruction and information lit-
eracy, special disciplinary topics, and outreach. Of the
51 responses received regarding new liaison training,
only two specifically identified areas of “soft” skills,
such as presentation skills or communication skills.
This is a particularly interesting finding, since com-
munication skills ranks so highly as a key qualification
for library liaisons.
For ongoing professional development opportu-
nities, nearly all the responding libraries (62 or 97%)
offer library liaisons dedicated funding and support
for attending conferences. The majority of libraries
also offer continuing education and professional de-
velopment in the form of internal cross-training (94%),
funding for external workshops (92%), and participa-
tion in formal degree and certificate programs (70%).
Other types of continuing education and develop-
ment in which library liaisons participate include
dedicated research days, web-based tools like lynda.
com, and internally developed training programs.
Evaluation of Liaisons and Programs
Measuring the success of individual liaisons and en-
tire liaison programs represents one area that has been
identified as very challenging within relevant library
literature. Overall, the majority of survey respondents
indicated that the responsibility of evaluating indi-
vidual liaisons on their liaison responsibilities falls to a
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