Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship

v.9 no.3 (Winter 2008)

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New Liaison Librarians: Factors Influencing Confidence Levels and the Type of Activities Undertaken

Ramirose Attebury, Reference and Instruction Librarian
University of Idaho, USA

Sara Holder, Education Liaison Librarian
McGill University, Quebec, Canada


Although library literature related to liaison work is not uncommon, most of what has been written takes the form of advice to new liaisons or else describes liaison program implementation and evaluation.  This study seeks to identify what types of activities liaison librarians are employing nationwide and what factors influence the decision to undertake these activities.  It also investigates what factors affect self-reported confidence levels of new liaison librarians.


For a number of years, the changing information environment has required academic libraries to find creative and innovative ways to market their services and prove their relevance to their campus communities.  As early as 1977, Laurence Miller warned that new information technologies were threatening the academic library’s status as the primary campus information center.  He specifically warned that “a slowness to adopt nonprint and computerized information formats” would “blunt library effectiveness” as academic departments on campus began to use information resources independent of the library.1 His solution to the problem came in the form of liaison work, or library outreach targeted to various campus departments, a solution which many academic libraries have adopted over the years. Today, librarians who act as liaisons to various departments on campus have a large role to play in raising awareness of library services. A 2007 ARL survey of sixty-three academic libraries nationwide indicated that 94% of these libraries provide liaison services to academic departments on their campus.2  In addition, the growth of library literature dedicated to liaison activities underscores the importance of promoting libraries to academic communities.

Much of the literature devoted to liaison work has focused on advice to new liaisons or the description of liaison programs and activities that individual libraries or librarians have done.  Compared to articles of this nature, little work has been done to indicate what types of activities liaisons are employing nationwide and what factors influence the decision to undertake these activities.  Likewise, while inferences about confidence levels have been made – usually relating to educational background or years of experience –  there have been no formal studies that seek to understand what influences librarians’ confidence in their ability to become successful liaisons. This study is a first attempt to rectify these deficiencies. This information is important for administrators and liaison supervisors when deciding how to hire and train new liaisons.  In this study the authors examine what effect formal training programs, the presence of a mentor, years of experience as a liaison, and educational background have on the types of activities carried out by new liaisons.  These factors are also examined for their effect on the self-reported confidence levels of new liaisons.

Literature Review

Library literature about liaison works takes several forms.  Definitions of liaison work are common and often refer to communication and collection development.  Miller, an early proponent of liaison work, defines it as “a formal structured activity in which professional library staff systematically meet with teaching faculty to discuss strategies for directly supporting their instructional needs and those of their students.”3  Over the years definitions have retained a similar if somewhat expanded nature. Kontata and Thaxton describe the major purpose of liaison work as “to facilitate better communication with teaching faculty and to integrate them in the activities of collection development.”4 Mack uses open system theory to view liaisons as agents whose job it is to output useful services to their academic departments.5 The Reference and User Services Association describe liaison work in terms of collection needs and communication between the library and the users it serves.6 Tennant, et. al. offer a description of a liaison as “a librarian who focuses on a particular subject area and client base.”7 

Liaison literature has frequently been offered in the form of advice, which underscores the lack of experience that most new liaisons have.8  Glynn and Wu surveyed librarians at their own institution and were able to recommend email and face-to-face interactions as among the most effective tools for reaching liaison constituents.9 Stoddard, et. al use their collective experience to offer advice to new liaisons.10 Tucker and Torrence suggest strategies to develop successful liaison skills, which they define in terms of successful collection development.11 Hines surveyed distance education faculty at Montana State University and discovered that many did not know about all of the services offered by liaisons, so she recommended that liaisons focus on better publicity.12 Johnson provides a list of information that liaisons should seek out if they hope to become successful liaisons.

A third type of liaison literature recommends, describes, and assesses formal liaison activities that librarians have initiated. Yang surveyed teaching faculty at Texas A&M University to determine their perceptions of the library’s liaisons program.  She ascertains that they supported the program and felt it improved the overall service of the library.13 Konata and Thaxton describe the transition to a formal liaison program that the library at Georgia State University undertook shortly after they arrived. Marta A. Davis and M. Kathleen Cook detail the successful implementation of a liaison pilot program at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.14 Suresh, Ryans, and Zhang illustrate the process of starting and assessing a new library liaison program, which includes a liaison training component.15 Neville, Williams, and Hunt describe the College of Charleston’s liaison program in relation to book ordering with teaching faculty.16 Individual experiences working with students have been described by Charlotte Cohen, by Sheila Kasperek, Amber Johnson, Katie Fotta, and Francis Craig, and by Lara Ursin Cummings.17

Most liaison articles contain similar information about what constitutes liaison work and what librarians can do to become successful liaisons.  Among the advice given is establishing a line of communication with faculty and students in-person or through email, telephone, or meetings. This is noted as especially important in subject areas with which the liaison has little previous experience. Setting up meetings with department heads or individual faculty, learning about classes and degrees offered, contacting other liaison librarians, browsing relevant subject areas in the library, visiting related Webpages and joining listservs, learning about pertinent reference desk questions and conducting bibliographic instruction sessions are also mentioned.18 Other advice includes offering workshops, creating posters and fliers, offering in-depth reference assistance, ordering materials based on faculty and student needs and current curriculum and accreditation requirements of departments.19

While library literature thus contains very useful information about what steps libraries and liaisons in them should take to ensure successful liaison interactions, little information is available about the degree to which liaisons are employing activities recommended in the advice literature and what factors influence the adoption of these activities.  There is also little information available about the on-the-job training practices and guidance that new liaison receive.  This article offers the results of a survey designed to shed light on some of these practices.


Data for this study were gathered using a survey made available via SurveyMonkey, a Web-based survey editor that allows survey creators to easily generate, distribute, and analyze surveys. Questions 1 through 5 of the fifteen-question survey were designed to gather some basic information about respondents’ work environment – type of institution, department, years of liaison experience, and number of subjects and departments for which each liaison had responsibility. Question 6 asked whether respondents had received any exposure to liaison work while in library school. The next several questions asked respondents about mentoring and training in their current workplace, their academic background, and years of experience as a liaison.   Participants were also asked to choose from a list of typical liaison activities in which they are currently engaging.  The final question asked respondents to self-assess their confidence levels in acting as a successful liaison.

The questions in the survey (with one exception) were of the multiple-choice type, some allowing for only one answer while others allowed for several choices to be selected. Nine out of the fifteen questions included an open-ended choice in which the respondents could enter answers in their own words. The responses were completely anonymous as no identifying information was requested. The review boards at both authors’ institutions gave their approval to the survey instrument. Text of the complete survey is included as Appendix A at the end of this article. It should be noted that the list of liaison activities suggested as options in Question 12 were selected based on what the liaison literature commonly identifies as typical liaison work.  These options are by no means the only activities that successful liaisons employ, for as Joyce L. Ogburn says, “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to liaison work.”20

In order to solicit respondents for the survey a call for participation and link to the survey was sent out to the following listservs:  ALF-L (Academic Librarians Forum), COLLIB-L (College Librarians List), ILI-L (Information Literacy and Instruction), NEWLIB-L (New Librarians List), NMRT-L (New Members Round Table), NEXGEN-L (Gen X and Gen Y), LIBREF-L (Reference Librarians List). These listservs were chosen with the hopes of reaching as many librarians as possible who hold positions with liaison responsibilities. The authors targeted listservs that are geared toward librarians in academic settings (ALF-L, COLLIB-L), librarians performing job functions related to liaison work (ILI-L, LIBREF-L), or librarians who are new to the profession (NEWLIB-L, NMRT-L, NEXGEN-L).  The announcements went out to the listservs during the first week of March 2008 and the survey closed on April 30, 2008. A total of 299 librarians responded to the survey in that time.

Profile of Respondents

Survey respondents were not asked to provide demographic information such as age or sex, but they were asked to indicate the type of library in which they worked. The first and second largest group of respondents indicated that they were employed either at a university (post-graduate) institution (61.2%) or a college (4-year undergraduate) institution (26.4%). The third largest group (11%) chose “other” as their response to this question. The majority of these respondents indicated in the space provided that they were employed at a community college (2-year). The remaining four respondents indicated that their place of work was a public library or a school library.

When asked to indicate in what type of department they were working, 77.6% indicated that they worked in reference and/or instruction. This was not surprising as these are major components of liaison work. The second largest group of respondents, however, chose "other" for their response. There was wide variation in write-in responses to this question. Among them were access services, youth services, interlibrary loan, administration and digital services. Many of the textual responses were written more as a statement of primary duties, such as "collection development, reference, instruction", instead of a department type. The only other response category to have a significant number of respondents was technical services (4%).

Additional profile questions asked about the nature of respondents’ liaison experiences, including how many years they had been working as a liaison and the number of subjects and departments for which they were responsible. The results to the first question were closely split between 0-1 years (43.1%) and 2-3 years (34.2%) with significantly fewer (18%) choosing 4 or more years. A smaller number (4.7%) indicated that they were not currently working as a liaison.  In response to the question of responsibilities, the largest group of respondents (39.3%) indicated that they were responsible for 1-2 academic departments. This was closely followed by the responses of 3-4 (30.2%) and 5 or more (25.8%). The responses on subject area responsibility were almost equally split between 3-4 (34%) and 5 or more (33.7%) with a comparable amount (27.9%) choosing 1-2 areas. A group of 4.5% in each case indicated that they did not currently have liaison responsibilities.

Finally, information was sought about the number of respondents who had some sort of exposure to or training for liaison work during their library school years.  More than 56% of respondents to this survey reported that they heard no mention of liaison duties whatsoever in library school. Approximately one-quarter reported they encountered a brief mention of liaison work in the classroom with no related assignments. Only 10.8% had encountered an assignment or hands-on training related to liaison work during their years as a graduate student in library science. In addition, a recent survey of currently enrolled library science students indicates that less than 20% have received any exposure to liaison work in either their required or elective classes.21


Prior to analyzing the survey results, the authors of this study believed that on-the-job training would be the most important factor affecting the types of activities liaisons employed and the level of confidence exhibited by liaisons.  Several librarians have called for formal training of new librarians with liaison responsibilities, especially given the lack of exposure to liaison work in library school curriculums. Tucker and Torrance describe the need for “effective and well organized” training programs for new collection development librarians.22 Ryans, Suresh, and Zhang state, “There is a need for more training for the library liaisons and library representatives, particularly in the area of electronic resources.”23 RUSA also offers guidelines for liaison work that include institutional training for liaisons.24 Mozenter, Sanders, and Welch emphasize the importance that formal training plays in the University of North Carolina-Charlotte’s liaison program.25

The results of this survey, however, reveal that, while on the job training does indeed correlate with a small increase in activities employed by liaisons, other factors play an equally, if not more, important role.  Academic background, years of experience, and the number of subject areas for which a liaison has responsibility also appear to affect the types of activities employed and confidence levels of liaisons to varying degrees. While this study does offer some evidence of the benefits of formal liaison training for new librarians, it also suggests that on-the-job experience and academic background are just as important. Less of an impact on activities engaged and confidence levels was seen by the presence of a mentor or supervisor or by the number of departments for which a liaison had responsibility.


The majority of respondents did not report having a mentor or direct supervisor for their liaison activities.  Out of 295 responses, 40.7% did have a mentor or direct supervisor while 59.3% did not.  This statistic alone indicates that many academic libraries are simply leaving their new liaison librarians to their own devices from the beginning.  While the majority of new hires at academic libraries have most likely been carefully selected through a search committee process, thereby providing some level of assurance that the new hire is a competent and qualified librarian, it must be noted that few of even the most qualified and competent new hires were exposed to liaison work at the graduate school level.  One would hope that new liaisons would ask for advice as needed, read the appropriate literature, and make every possible effort to become successful liaisons.  Nevertheless, the impact of having a mentor, either formally or informally, in a new work situation has been well documented in the library and organizational literature.26 Among the respondents of this survey, those with a mentor were slightly more likely to report that they were very or somewhat confident in their ability to become a successful liaison.  Out of 120 respondents who had a mentor, 87.5%, described themselves as confident to some degree.

Those respondents who had mentors or direct supervisors were also slightly more likely to report engaging in the liaison activities mentioned in Question 12.

TABLE 1. Liaison Activities by Presence of Mentor or Supervisor

  No Yes
Bibliographic Instruction 81.4 87.4
Student Consultations 73.3 79
Faculty Consultations 58.7 60.5
Ordering Materials 80.2 87.4
CMS Presence 18 31.1
Embedded in Classes 19.2 23.5
Reference Desk Shifts 59.9 76.5
Nothing Yet 4.7 2.5

These results, while consistent for each of the seven activities mentioned, are not, however, significant enough to assert that a correlation exists between mentoring (as measured by this survey) and the implementation of liaison activities. While this would seem to imply mentoring is of only minimal importance to new liaisons, it is also likely that these numbers are a result of the wording in Question 8, which does not differentiate between nominal supervisors and true mentors.  While more than 40% of survey takers responded yes to this question, it is difficult to ascertain from the question itself the degree of involvement taken by these mentors and supervisors.  Simply because a new librarian has a liaison supervisor does not mean that he or she is necessarily given guidance on liaison work by that person.  Future studies might clarify the ambiguity produced by the wording of this question.


While the effects of a mentor or supervisor on liaison activities are still unclear, the presence of training has a more obvious impact on the liaison work of a new librarian.  Thankfully, most of the survey respondents reported having at least some discussion about their liaison responsibilities when they began their work.  Of the 294 respondents, 23.8% reported no training whatsoever.  On the surface this looks like employers are giving the necessary advice to their new employees.  However, when broken down by the type of training, the remaining 76.8% reported a wide range of training practices.  Seventy-five, or 25.5%, received only run-down of responsibilities, with no strategies discussed.  Combined with those who received no training, this means that nearly a half of new liaison librarians began their liaison duties with little or no advice.  On the other hand, 46.6% heard about some possible strategies during their discussion of responsibilities.  The remaining respondents had an in-depth training program, five with an evaluation and seven without.

Whether or not a new liaison receives any kind of training appears to have a consistent impact on the types of activities liaisons are employing.  Table 2 depicts the activities in which new liaisons are currently engaging based on their level of training.

TABLE 2. Effect of training on which activities liaisons employ by percentage

  No Training or Strategies Discussion with Strategies In-Depth Training
Bibliographic Instruction 81.7 86 91.7
Student Consultations 74.6 75 100
Faculty Consultations 54.2 64 75
Ordering Materials 76.8 89.7 91.7
CMS Presence 20.4 24.3 50
Embedded in Classes 18.3 21.3 50
None Yet 4.2 2.9 0

Because of the small number of survey respondents who have had an in-depth training experience, the results of those with and without an evaluation component were combined.  Even after this combination, the number of total respondents is only twelve, a smaller than ideal sample.  Nevertheless, the results are suggestive.  With the exception of reference desk shifts (which are often required and not left up to the discretion of liaisons), each of the activities are employed more frequently by those with in-depth training. The nature of this training is described by only a few respondents. Experiences mentioned include bi-weekly meetings with a mentor, a good relationship with more experienced liaisons, and financial training to attend the Institute for Information Literacy’s Immersion Program.

Years as a Liaison

It is not unusual to feel uneasy about one's abilities when starting out in a particular profession or when taking on a new role. With years of experience—and the mistakes and successes that come with that experience—come greater confidence. On-the-job learning is commonplace and praised in the library world.  While Stoddard et al. state that their article “offers widely applicable tips and cautionary advice from a varied pool of fresh experience,” they also note that, “it also takes an on-the-job learning approach to liaison work.”27 Torrence and Tucker likewise conclude that “’on the job training’ is the best means to effectively learn collection development and it takes time to become comfortable with the entire process.”28 The results of this study support their assertions.

Whether on-the-job training takes the form of a formal orientation program, an in-service education day, or simply learning from day-to-day activities, it plays a significant role in enlarging the skill set librarians have to complete their job requirements.  It also bolsters confidence levels as challenges are met and dealt with successfully. The survey results show this to be the case for the responding liaison librarians. Librarians with four or more years of experience are significantly more likely to engage in bibliographic instruction, student consultations, faculty consultations, and they are more likely to participant in courses via course management software.  Table 3 presents the full range of results.

TABLE 3. Activities Currently Employed by Years of Experience

  0-1 2-3 4 or more
Bibliographic Instruction 76.2 91.1 96.2
Student Consultations 67.5 85.1 86.5
Faculty Consultations 50 65.3 75
Ordering Materials 83.3 83.2 90.4
CMS Presence 19 24.8 32.7
Not Sure 5.6 0 0

In addition, as Table 4 shows, confidence levels increase steadily in line with the number of years on the job as a liaison.

Table 4. Effect of Years of Experience on Confidence Levels

  0-1 2-3 4 or more
Very Confident 20.6 37.6 42.3
Somewhat confident 54 47.5 46.2
Somewhat unconfident 2.4 2 1.9
Very unconfident 23 12.9 9.6
Very or Somewhat Confident 74.6 85.1 88.5
Very or Somewhat Unconfident 25.4 14.9 11.5

Reference activities are again an exception, likely because they are an activity over which librarians often have little control.

Academic Background

Ideally, liaison librarians would have some educational or employment background in the academic areas to which they are assigned. Nevertheless, the degree to which such a background is useful is debatable.  Yang discovered from surveying teaching faculty that 88.9% of liberal arts professors felt a liaison’s matching subject background was “indispensable,” yet only 14.3% of faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences felt the same way.29 The question of why this is the case deserves further investigation, but the important thing to remember is that liaisons can become knowledgeable in any subject area if they take the time and effort to do so.  As Kinder and Montgomery state, “Becoming acquainted with the bibliography of a certain subject is a bit of an effort on your part, but one well worth doing.”30

Question 6 of the survey touches upon the importance of educational background on confidence levels and as a factor in determining what types of activities liaisons are employing.  According to the results, educational background is even more important than mentoring or training in elevating confidence levels and in the likelihood that liaisons will carry out certain activities. Table 5 shows noticeable increases in the numbers of liaisons carrying out bibliographic instruction, student consultations, and faculty consultations as their educational levels increase.

TABLE 5. Effect of academic background on activities liaisons employ

  None Classes or Minor Bachelors Masters Ph.D.
Bibliographic Instruction 75.6 81.4 90.3 90 100
Student Consultations 60.5 75.7 80.6 90 100
Faculty Consultations 53.5 57.1 58.3 72 90
Haven’t Done Anything 5.8 4.3 1.4 2 0
TOTAL RESPONSES 86 70 72 50 10

Table 6 also lends evidence to the impact of educational achievement on liaison librarians in terms of confidence.

TABLE 6. Effect of Academic Background on Confidence Levels

  None Classes or Minor Bachelors Masters Ph.D.
Very Confident 24.1 29 34.7 37.3 60
Somewhat confident 49.4 52.2 45.8 49 40
Somewhat unconfident 2.3 1.4 1.4 3.9 0
Very unconfident 24.1 17.4 18.1 9.8 0
Very or Somewhat Confident 73.6 81.2 80.6 86.3 100
Very or Somewhat Unconfident 26.4 18.8 19.4 13.7 0
TOTAL RESPONSES 87 69 72 51 10

Although those with some classes taken or a minor identified themselves as either very or somewhat confident, a number similar to those with bachelor’s degrees, in all other cases an increase in educational level corresponds to an increase in the likelihood a liaison will report him or herself as very or somewhat confident.

Departmental and Subject Responsibilities

Given that the standard degree held by most librarians which qualifies them as such is a Masters degree, it is safe to say that all liaison librarians hold at least a Bachelors degree in another discipline. In a perfect world all liaisons would be responsible for serving departments and collecting in subject areas that relate to their field of study, and while this survey shows the benefits of aligning liaison responsibilities and academic background, it is often not possible for liaisons to have a background in all of their liaison subject areas. It is thus not unusual for a liaison to be responsible for one or more departments and subjects in which they have had no academic training. How does this affect the liaison's confidence in their ability to do their job? Unlike other variables examined by this study, the number of departments shows no discernable effect on the types of activities undertaken by liaisons!  Interestingly, Table 7 demonstrates that the number of subjects for which a liaison is responsible does make a difference on each activity undertaken except ordering materials. Those with more liaison subjects tend to employ the activities to a greater degree.  This is likely a result of experience.  Liaisons with more experience are typically those with more subject responsibilities.

TABLE 7. Effect of Number of Subjects on Activities Employed

  1-2 3-4 5 or more
Bibliographic Instruction 68.7 91.1 93
Student Consultations 66.3 77.8 86
Faculty Consultations 49.4 60.6 70
CMS Presence 14.5 20.2 34
Embedded in Classes 18.1 22.2 23
Reference Desk Shifts 54.2 70.7 76
None Yet 3.6 0 3

Confidence levels did not vary according to the number of subjects or departments assigned to new liaisons.


The results of the survey allow us to draw some general conclusions about the variables studied while still acknowledging that further studies may provide additional insights into the nature of liaison work.  While the results do not show a strong correlation between the types of activities in which liaisons engage and the presence of a mentor, this lack of connection could be attributed to the inexact wording of the survey itself.  The authors, therefore, recommend that a future study be designed to address the issue in a less ambiguous manner.  Their does appear to be a positive effect of formalized training on the types of activities employed by liaisons as well as the confidence levels exhibited by them.  While the survey sample was understandably small with regard to those liaisons who have participated in a formal training program, the results are striking enough to suggest that systematic training does have a positive impact on the success of liaison work.  Again a call for further investigations seems appropriate.  Articles that describe in-depth training or the development and evaluation of formal liaison programs are especially useful.31  In addition, more in depth examination of how liaisons with training approach their work compared to those who are left to their own devices could help to identify specifically what aspects of training are most useful to new liaisons.

There are many strong proponents on the issue of requiring subject-specialist librarians to have at least a bachelor’s degree (if not a master’s or Ph.D.) in the subject(s) for which they are responsible. Some go as far as to say that hiring academic librarians without a masters or Ph.D. in the relevant subject is harmful to the profession.32 Because the survey results indicate that higher levels of education in a subject correlates with liaisons' confidence levels and with their likelihood to employ various job-related activities, the authors recommend that whenever possible liaison librarians should be hired with an educational background in the subject(s) for which they will be responsible. However, as anyone who has ever sat on a hiring committee knows, there are a great many factors that enter into the choice of the right candidate for any position and educational background cannot and should not be the make-or-break factor.

In addition to training, the factor borne out by the survey to have the strongest effect on confidence levels and the involvement in a large and diverse set of liaison activities and strategies is, perhaps unsurprisingly, experience. This being said, it is not our recommendation that institutions restrict their hiring of liaison librarians from a pool of those who already have several years experience. Rather, the results of this survey lead the authors to recommend that institutions hire whomever is chosen as the right candidate for the position, then, after the newly-hired liaison arrives, they should be given all of the training, tools, and support necessary to set them on the path where they will build the confidence and gain the experience that will help them be effective and feel that they are effective in their work.

Appendix A

1. In what type of institution do you work?

 College (4-year undergraduate)
 University (Post-graduate)
 Elementary/Middle/High School Library
 Public Library
 Other (please specify)


2. In what type of department do you work?

 Reference and/or Instruction
 Technical Services
 Archives/Special Collections
 Government Documents
 Electronic Resources
 Other (please specify)


3. How long have you worked as a liaison librarian?

 I am not currently a liaison.
 0-1 years
 2-3 years
 4 or more years

4. With how many academic departments do you work?

 I do not current have liaison responsibilities.
 5 or more

5. For how many subject areas are you responsible?

 I have no current liaison responsibilities.
 1-2 areas
 3-4 areas
 5 or more areas

6. Do you have an academic background or degree in one or more areas of your liaison work?

 No academic training in liaison area(s)
 Some academic training (minor/classes taken) in liaison area(s)
 Subject bachelors in liaison area(s)
 Subject masters in liaison area(s)
 Subject PhD in liaison area(s)

7. Did you receive any training for liaison work while in library school?

 No training whatsoever
 Mentioned in Class Lecture, No Assignment
 Mentioned in Class Lecture, With Assignment
 Internship/Hands On Training
 Other (please specify)


8. Do you have a mentor or direct supervisor for your liaison activities?


9. Did your current employer provide training for your liaison activities?

 No training whatsoever
 Short discussion of responsibilities, No strategies discussed
 Short discussion of responsibilities, Strategies discussed
 In depth training program, no evaluation
 In-depth training program, complete with evaluation

If applicable, please describe training.


10. How did you make initial contact with your liaison department(s)?

 I have not contacted them yet.
 Someone introduced me.
 I made the initial contact.
 Other (please specify)


11. If you made the initial contact, how did you do it? (Check all that apply.)

 In person visit
 At campus event
 Other (please specify)


12. What activities are you engaging in as a liaison librarian? (Check all that apply.)

 Research Consultations with Students
 Research Consultations with Faculty
 Ordering materials
 Library Presence in Course Management Software
 Embedded Presence in Course(s)
 Regularly Scheduled Reference Desk Shifts
 I haven't really begun any activities yet.
 Other (please specify)


13. What activities do you hope to use in the future as a liaison librarian? (Check all that apply.)

 Research Consultations with Students
 Research Consultations with Faculty
 Ordering materials
 Library Presence in Course Management Software
 Embedded Presence in Course(s)
 Regularly Scheduled Reference Desk Shifts
 I am not sure what else I will do.
 Other (please specify)


14. Have you found any activities to be especially successful? (Check all that apply.)

 Email communication
 Print materials distributed to Faculty
 Print materials distributed to Students
 Bibliographic Instruction for Students
 Research Consultations with Students
 Research Consultations with Faculty
 Offering workshops or other activities.
 Library Presence in Course Management Software
 Embedded Presence in Course(s)

15. Overall, how confident are you in your abilities to be a successful liaison?

 Very confident
 Somewhat confident
 Somewhat unconfident
 Very unconfident


1. Laurence Miller, “Liaison Work in the Academic Library,” RQ 16, no. 3 (Spring 1977), 213.

2. Susan Logue, John Ballestro, Andrea Imre, and Julie Arendt, Liaison Services (Washington, D.C.: Association of Research Libraries, 2007), 16.

3. Miller, 213.

4. La Loria Konata and Lyn Thaxton, “Transition to Liaison Model: Teaching Faculty and Librarian Perceptions,” Urban Library Journal 11, no. 1 (Fall 2001), 35.

5. Daniel C. Mack, “Library Liaisons and the Organization: An Open Systems View of Collection Development in the Academic Library Setting,” Against the Grain 19, no. 3 (June 2007), 32-38.

6. Reference and User Services Association, “Guidelines for Liaison Work in Managing Collections and Services,” Reference and User Services Quarterly 41, no. 2 (Winter 2001), 107.

7. Michele R. Tennant, Tara Tobin Caltaldo, Pamela Shirwill-Navarro, and Rae Jesano, “Evaluation of a Liaison Librarian Program: Client and Liaison Perspectives,” The Journal of the Medical Librarian Association 94, no. 4 (October 2006), 402.

8. Johnson, Peggy. "An Exercise in Partnership - Library Faculty Liaison." Technicalities 16, no. 2 (February 1996): 12-14.

9. Tom Glynn and Connie Wu, “New Roles and Opportunities for Academic Library Liaisons: A Survey and Recommendations,” Reference Services Review 31, no. 2 (2003), 228-234.

10. Stoddart, Richard A., Thedis W. Bryant, Amida L. Baker, Adrienne Lee, and Brent Spencer. "Perspectives on…Going Bolding Beyond the Reference Desk: Practical Advice and Learning Plans for New Reference Librarians Performing Liaison Work." The Journal of Academic Librarianship 32, no. 4 (July 2006): 419-427.

11. Tucker, James Cory and Matt Torrence. "Collection Development for New Librarians: Advice from the Trenches." Library Collections, Acquisitions, & Technical Services 28 (2004), 401.

12. Hines, Samantha Schmehl. "What Do Distance Education Faculty Want from the Library?" Journal of Library Administration 45, no. 1/2 (2006), 215-217.

13. Yang, Zheng Ye (Lan). "University Faculty's Perception of a Library Liaison Program: A Case Study." The Journal of Academic Librarianship 26, no. 2 (March 2000), 124-128.

14. Marta A. Davis and M. Kathleen Cook, “Implementing a Library Liaison Program: Personnel, Budget, and Training,” Collection Management 20 (1996), 157-165.

15. Raghini S. Suresh, Cynthia C. Ryans, and Wei-Ping Zhang, “The Library-Faculty Connection: Starting a Liaison Programme in an Academic Setting,” Library Review 44, no. 1 (1995), 7-13.

16. Robert Neville, James Williams III, and Caroline C. Hunt, “Faculty-Library Teamwork in Book Ordering,” College and Research Libraries 59, no. 6 (November 1998), 524-533.

17. Charlotte Cohen, “Faculty Liaison: A Cooperative Venture in Bibliographic Instruction,” The Reference Librarian 51/52 (1995), 161-169; Sheila Kasperek, Amber Johnson, Katie Fotta, and Francis Craig, “Do a Little Dance: The Impact on Students when Librarians Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities,” The Journal of Academic Librarianship 33, no. 1 (2006), 118-126; Lara Ursin Cummings, “Bursting Out of the Box: Outreach to the Millennial Generation through Student Services Programs,” Reference Services Review 35, no. 2 (2007), 285-295.

18. Tucker and Torrance, 403-404; Stodard, et. al., 422-423; Angela Locknar and Scott Vine, “Now What? Starting Your First Professional Academic Reference Position,” The Reference Librarian 72 (2001), 47; Glynn and Wu, 127.

19. Stoddart, et. al, 424; Ryans, et. al, 17-18; James Cory Tucker, Jeremy Bullian, and Matthew C. Torrence, “Collaborate or Die! Collection Development in Today’s Academic Library,” The Reference Librarian 40, no. 83/84 (2003), 219-236; Sean Kinder and Jack G. Montogmery, “The Collection Development Role of the Library Liaison: A View from Both Sides of the Fence,” Against the Grain (December 2001-January 2002), 78.

20. Joyce L. Ogburn, “Acquiring Minds Want to Know – Library Liaison Programs,” Against the Grain 12, no. 5 (November 2000), 20.

21. Ramirose Attebury and Joshua Finnell, “Liaison Librarian Preparedness: Current Awareness and Training of Library Science Students,” (submitted).

22. James Cory Tucker and Matt Torrence, “Collection Development for New Librarians: Advice from the Trenches,” Library Collections, Acquisitions, & Technical Services 28 (2004), 400.

23. Cynthia C. Ryans, Raghini S. Suresh, and Wei-Ping Zhang, “Assessing an academic library liaison program,” Library Review 44, no. 1 (1995), 19.

24. Reference and User Services Association, 107.

25. Mozenter, Sanders, and Welch, 436-437.

26. Christina M. Underhill, "The Effectiveness of Mentoring Programs in Corporate Settings: A Meta-analytical Review of the Literature," Journal of Vocational Behavior 68 (2006): 292-307; Linda Watt, “Mentoring and Coaching in the Workplace,” Canadian Manager 29, no. 3 (Fall 2004): 14-16; Jeanne Lightly, “Mentoring Relationships,” Des Moines Business Register 16, no. 17 (April 24, 2000): 27-28; Neil Blunt, “Learning from the Wisdom of Others,” People Management 1, no. 11 (May 31, 1995): 38-39; Peggy Johnson, “Retaining and Advancing Librarians of Color,” College and Research Libraries 68, no. 5 (September 2007): 405-17; Sarah G. Holterhoff, “What I Know Now – Thoughts on Mentoring and Leadership,” AALL Spectrum 11, no. 8 (June 2007): 4; Barbara Wittkopf, “Mentoring in Academic Libraries: LSU Libraries Model,” LLA Bulletin 61, no. 4 (Spring 1999): 226-32.

27. Stoddard, et. al, 420.

28. Tucker and Torrance, 401.

29. Yang, 127.

30. Kinder and Montgomery, 78.

31. Davis and Cook; Macaluso and Petruzzelli; Konata and Thaxton; Suresh, Ryans, and Zhang; Irene K. Risser, Marjorie White, and Geraldine Benson, “The Successful Liaison Program: Librarians and Classroom Faculty as Partners in the Instructional Process,” Against the Grain 12, no. 5 (November 2000), 22; Chu; Yang.

32. Gilman, Todd. 2008. "Subject Experts Need Not Apply." Chronicle of Higher Education, July 04. A32-A33.

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