42 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 291 2017 Organizational culture and institutional culture, like organizational and institutional politics, can be as much myth or attitude as reality. Whether a complete restructuring of staffing and duties is necessary, or small experimental approaches to integrating staff from diverse areas into shared roles, there are helpful case studies and scholarship in management, business, and academic librarianship journals. Staffing Models One possible staffing model to foster collaboration is to develop a test or pilot project that would allow for cross-training and cross- staffing, specifically between liaison librarians and special collections librarians. At its most basic level, and based on interest, librarians can implement a small-scale staffing experiment, where librarians serve scheduled time in another department to participate in the work that takes place there a newfound and deeper understanding is inevitable. Cross-training, shadowing, and observation in a test project such as this should center not just around materials and procedures, but should take a look at the interpersonal interactions between the librarians and the end users they are working with, and how the users are engaging with the resources and information. Conversations and assessment of these cross-departmental interactions can be observed and noted during and immediately after the experience. Librarians can use what they learn and take it to the next level by creating and implementing plans to improve their work. Pursuing this approach will lead to greater understanding among librarians of each other’s jobs and the ability to make appropriate referrals and to better assess needs library-wide. The emphasis here is not on specialized training but rather on observation and shared communication and needs assessment on the ground. Asking the fundamental questions, “What can I contribute to this experience?” and “How does my work and expertise complement and possibly shape this interaction?”
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