Libraries are for Use

Demonstrating the value of librarianship

Value of Academic Libraries Liaisons


When I interviewed for a position a few years ago, the Dean of Libraries discussed the (then) recently-released Value of Academic Libraries report, of which I was already aware, but had not read as thoroughly as he had.  But sensing his enthusiasm for the ideas in the report, I incorporated them into the presentation for the position for which I was eventually hired – which, of course, is with the same library ;).  However, I have been keeping up with the Value of Academic Libraries efforts, including their ACRL VAL Blog. Which brings me to today’s topic – the ACRL liaisons.

Now, librarians are familiar with the liaisons concept; after all, that is what we do, even if it is not part of our job title or description.  We liaison with our subject specialists, classroom teachers, public library patron to identify the most appropriate resources to fit their information needs.  The ACRL liaisons extend this reach by working with the organizations of these very patrons – of subject specialists, of academic administration, and of academic funders.  This post on the ACRL VAL Blog highlights the liaisons, their organizations, and some of their achievements.

This approach implements one of the recommendations in the VAL Report, and that is “developing research that will support advocacy efforts for libraries with decision makers and funders in higher education.”  Librarians needed to stop “preaching to the choir” (ourselves) the value of libraries and start preaching to the congregation, or indeed, those who were not attending.  What is interesting about the examples provided is that these liaisons not only preached the value of academic libraries, they worked with their organizations to develop the tools and resources that the members had been needing, like information literacy standards for the American Sociological Association.

Will this approach succeed in generating the support from the academic community for well-funded libraries that are central to the academic experience of students and faculty?  It would be interesting to see.  How would such success be measured?  Hmmm, I sense another research project…

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This entry was posted on December 26, 2013 by in Academic Libraries, Assessment, Information Literacy, LIS Profession and tagged , .
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