New Roles of Liaison Librarians: A Liaison’s Perspective Kara M. Whatley, Life Sciences Librarian and Head of the Coles Science Center, New York University Librarians as Middleware Liaison librarians have always been connectors between their patrons and the information that is collected in libraries. However, this role as connector, or middleware as it was termed by Rick Luce at the 2008 ARL and CNI Fall Forum, has taken on new twists for liaison librarians today, or liaison 2.0 as I have come to think of us. Liaison 2.0 represents more than a simple refinement of liaison librarianship it represents a significant rewrite of the basic skills and services typically associated with liaison librarianship. As we move further and further into the age of Google, where faculty and administrators feel that all information is online and easily located, it is increasingly important that liaison librarians use the relationships that they have built to connect the library’s work to the academic mission of their university. This role as middleware is core to the liaison 2.0. Building relationships is becoming the essence of what it is to be a liaison librarian—one that connects users with their information needs, whatever the format and whatever the technology. The role of librarians as middleware is the real brains behind the traditional roles for liaison 2.0, and, if this connection works well, all the rest will be informed by it and flow from it. At New York University we have spent a significant amount of time in the past academic year thinking about science library services, and a large part of that work has included reexamining our roles as liaison librarians and how we might evolve to better serve the changing needs of our students and researchers. In the process I have formed a new appreciation of the concept of librarians as middleware, as well as roles we leave behind as we offer new services and acquire new skills. RLI 265 29 AUGUST 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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