Monday, March 9, 2009

What Faculty Members Need of a Librarian?

As a library faculty and library liaison to the College of Nursing (CON) and the College of Pharmacy (COP), I've been looking for ways to bring library services and resources to support the educational and research needs of the colleges served. Recently I conducted a two-minute survey with the intend to get to know what faculty members need of a librarian and to bring library liaison services to another level. Only in three days since the survey was distributed, 29 CON and COP faculty members answered the questions. I'm hoping to get more in the next few days. Here is a brief overview of the survey results, which already provided some food for thought.

When asked whether they wanted to receive information or tips about library resources and services, 66% says yes and 86% prefers using email. I'm not surprised only 34% of the faculty are interested in bringing a librarian into their courses to deliver a 20-minute session about using library resources effectively for their students. I think partly because they don't really know what a librarian can do for them. I'm delighted to know 48% of the faculty expressed interests in attending the library workshop, Staying Current for which I'm the instructor. 31% of them already have their own way of keeping up to date. Four (14%) faculty members would like to have one-on-one sessions to learn about tools and resources for staying current on their research topics.

The survey asks "What would you like your librarian to do for you?" and it yielded some interesting responses:

"Assist with complex literature searches. (Which I already get and am very grateful for)."
"Help with student literature searches (when I refer a student to the librarian)."
"An one-on-one session for new tools and methods."
"Reference Manager or Endnote instruction."
"It would be nice to have the librarian present an update on material at one of our Department faculty meetings."
"Searches. Obtain difficult to find articles."
"Assist with a literature search in preparation for NIH grant."
"Come into classes (DNP and PhD) as part of a workshop at the start of the term to help students learn how to conduct literature searches."
"I am wondering if a presentation to our professional staff regarding clinical resources available through the Library? I don't think staff are completely aware of what is available."
"Our graduate students take courses online and many do not live in or near Memphis, so they are limited to online library access. With that in mind, could you set up a repository of on-demand online tutorials and tools designated specifically for students so that they do not have to wade through the scheduled, on-campus, and/or faculty resources in order to find what they need quickly and efficiently? Could you make the workshops available for on-demand online viewing?"

Sounds familiar? For librarians who have liaison responsibilities to CON or COP, the mini survey results might offer some helpful insight and thoughts on what faculty members need of a librarian. Based on the 29 responses, faculty members expect librarians:
  • To provide expert literature searches to support research and educational programs
  • To offer instructional sessions or workshops to their students on literature searching
  • To be the information messenger between the college and the library
  • To be flexible in offering library workshops considering the needs of distance learning community
The faculty members' responses implied that they are aware of librarians' expertise in information retrieval and information management. Their responses also presented a lot of opportunities for librarians to take. I would further summarize the survey results and plan my liaison services in another post. Suggestions and comments are welcome!

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