24 · Survey Results: Survey Questions and Responses
We’ve had liaisons as long as anyone here can remember. Formerly, we had separate subject libraries, although many
were located in the main library building. These were merged into a general reference department several decades ago,
with the subject librarians retaining their liaison roles in addition to providing general reference service and instruction.
Prior to 1971, which is the furthest back our institutional memory goes.
The library has always offered these services (1965).
This has evolved over decades, but some form of liaison activity has existed for at least 50 years.
We’ve always had liaison services (1965), but we have recently realigned the liaison program to give greater emphasis
to the liaison work (2015).
We have had this model for many decades and the best guess is that some form of this approach existed as far back as
the 1960s
Columbia Libraries commissioned Booz, Allen, Hamilton, Inc. to propose a new library staffing model in 1973. The result
included recommendations about disciplinary divisions—humanities, science, and social science—including subject
specialists. The plan was implemented around 1975.
It is very difficult to pinpoint the exact year we began offering liaison services (1970s?). I am certain that the library has
had subject experts since the 1950s.
The date, 1979, corresponds to the establishment of university-wide library liaison assignments. Two branch libraries
(Design and Textiles) were established in the 1940s, and one (Natural Resources) was established in 1970. These
branch libraries were and continue to be staffed by librarians serving faculty and students in those disciplines. The
Veterinary Medicine Library opened in 1981 with liaison services.
The inception of the model pre-dates the tenure of anyone working in the library. It goes well back into the last quarter
of the 20th century.
This (1974) is an estimate as that was the first recorded liaison activities.
This (1975) is approximately the date. It occurred sometime in the mid 70s.
University Libraries started hiring more subject librarians in the late 1960s to take an active role in collection
development. In mid-1970s more were hired to provide subject-based reference services.
We know it has been in place at least since the mid-1970s. As far as anyone knows, liaisons have always been part of
the library’s services.
Date (1985) is approximate.
I’m not sure of the actual year. I’ve heard sometime in the 80s.
Liaison services have been a longstanding part of the library’s professional practice since at least the early 1980s.
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