Liaison Services · 15
Survey Questions and Responses
The SPEC survey on Liaison Services was designed by Susan Logue, Associate Dean for Support
Services, John Ballestro, Assistant Professor, Andrea Imre, Assistant Professor, and Julie Arendt,
Assistant Professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. These results are based on data submitted
by 66 of the 123 ARL member libraries (54%) by the deadline of June 13, 2007. The survey’s introductory
text and questions are reproduced below, followed by the response data and selected comments from the
A SPEC survey on liaison services in libraries that was conducted in 1992 concluded that, “Until recently the library collection
has formed the focus of library activity. But as the physical collection becomes less central, the user is becoming the focus of
library services. The role librarians are to have in this decentralized information environment could depend largely upon the
effectiveness with which liaison librarians are able to monitor, anticipate, and respond to user’s information needs.” Since
then many changes have taken place in libraries and in society. Electronic communication and the wide range of electronic
publications have changed our patrons’ expectations and information needs. Libraries are facing an increased challenge as they
try to provide access to a wide variety of materials while adjusting to their patrons’ constantly evolving information seeking
behaviors and technological needs. Librarians are taking on a number of new roles and responsibilities including partnering with
faculty in the classroom, acting as academic advisors and mentors, and providing computer software and hardware support.
This survey seeks to identify the current roles of liaisons in ARL libraries and indicate any changes in the focus of librarians in
their interactions with academic departments. We hope to discover whether liaisons are being reactive to faculty and student
needs, partners in providing teaching/library instruction, pioneers in the new electronic world, or have limited involvement with
the academic departments. We intend to document how libraries today mix the activities of traditional liaison responsibilities
with the new trends that are fostered by the evolving needs of the library’s patrons.
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