42 · SPEC Kit 301
Challenges of Liaison Services
16. Please describe up to three top challenges for your library liaisons. N=59
Challenge 1 Challenge 2 Challenge 3
Academic faculty don’t have much
time to devote to interaction with
the liaisons.
Keeping ahead of the technology
curve so that we can be useful to
Anticipating changes in the
Affording enough suitable positions
to distribute liaison duties to. Too
few people for too many subject
Increasing the liaisons’ interest and
skills in using social software, esp. for
communication, and to continuously
refresh Web-based information in
their liaison areas.
Changing liaison attitudes to value
outreach as much as reference and
spend equal time at each.
Aligning library resources to
effectively support the changing
research and teaching needs of
faculty (especially incoming faculty).
Faculty do not see liaisons as being
intrinsic to the educational process,
in part because we do not clearly
communicate what we can offer.
Faculty perception that library
services compete for teaching time
and a lack of awareness of how
liaisons can help faculty with time
management by supporting student
research needs.
Being recognized as a partner in the
academic process and maintaining
a consistent contact within a
Identifying the needs of departments. Timing communications with faculty
members to be optimally effective.
Change: the library collections and
services continue to evolve, and
the uses and demands faculty and
students make on these services, and
the expectations faculty and students
have of liaisons continue to shift.
There is a lot for liaisons to keep up
with, in some senses they are victims
of their own success.
Discovery: users don’t know what
libraries have, we make it difficult for
users to figure out what we have,
and we ourselves don’t know what
we have because our discovery tools
are ineffectual. We need to make
it easier for users to find what the
library has and give users the tools
they need to make use of these
resources. Until we can do this, our
liaisons will continually be put on
the spot.
Budget: there is not enough money
to meet user demands for resources.
Changing nature of scholarly
communication and users’ needs.
Time keeping up with challenge
#1 along with the other aspects
of their positions as library faculty
Clearly defining the roles of the
Getting all liaisons to offer the same
level of services.
Getting all academic departments to
fully participate in the program.
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