33 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 294 2018 USF’s Liaison Model: Past and Present When the initiative began, the USF Libraries Liaison Program would best be described as traditional. This model had been adopted decades ago when there was a large Reference Services department with over 16 librarians and more than 15 graduate assistants from the School of Information. Assignments for “bibliographic instruction,” as requested by department faculty, were blended with reference desk and collection development responsibilities. Librarians were individually assigned to academic departments based on one or more factors: librarian interests, academic background, or relationship to a faculty member in the department. In an environment with an essentially “flat” budget, declining personnel levels, and retirements over the last 11 years, this model proved unsustainable. Even as the USF Libraries’ approach to reference and instruction services transformed into a more efficient program that applied library faculty where and when they were most needed and requested, it was clear that the traditional model had provided a beneficial and recognizable “face” or brand for thousands of faculty and students. Nonetheless, everyone understood that the Liaison Program needed to be reassessed. The goals of the new model were to preserve the “high-touch” benefit of a traditional model while exploring other models that more effectively allowed librarians to meet the changing instructional and research needs of faculty and students. After much investigation into other models and their implementation at other academic libraries, and analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of our own program, the decision was made to combine the best aspects from each of the models studied.1 The new model for the Liaison Program would employ the strengths of the three prevailing models described in the ROLES Models Team Final Report.2 The comprehensive new model emphasized the liaison librarian as the USF Libraries’ ambassador to the USF community, meeting university goals and departmental research needs through collaboration within and external to the USF Libraries. This new model, as described in the ROLES full final report,3 would be structured to be adaptable for future
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