47 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 291 2017 ongoing emphasis on engaged librarianship with the need for supportive organizational strategy, structure and culture.”13 With a mix of administrative support, shared goals, and a shared understanding of why, how, and for whom the work is for, together liaison and special collections librarians can help each other keep the focus on a project’s purpose and objectives. Developing a collaboration of any kind also requires a comfort with ambiguity, as, with a variety of perspectives, outcomes may not turn out as originally anticipated. Every librarian brings their own expertise to bear on each experience and interaction. To best serve constituents, department and position responsibilities should not be an obstacle to working collaboratively. Looking internally at their work in a holistic way and making strategic connections among colleagues to combine expertise, services, and collections can help librarians “create agile systems for translating encouragement into ideas and, in turn, transforming those ideas into scalable, sustainable, and replicable services.”14 These challenges are not unique to liaison and special collections units within academic libraries. As in other organizations, fragmentation of work, responsibilities, communication, mission, goals, and other pieces of organizational culture creates similar conflicts. Thinking of the library as a whole, “organizational culture is hence the specific set of patterns that are materialized within one institution. These patterns are materialized…as action, technology, institution and so on.”15 How do liaison and special collections librarians develop and institute patterns to more closely reflect the research process and scholarly work cycle? It is highly recognized that working collaboratively is important to the success and future of academic libraries. It is in considering the nature of this work and why it is important that helps academic librarians ascertain how to do it that will help advance their work and, in effect, their institutions’ objectives.
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