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Library Liaison Responsibilities

Purpose of Liaison Program

The Liaison Program was created to ensure that Library acquisitions are focused and responsive to the University’s instructional and research goals and to ensure that faculty and students receive the best instruction, research assistance, and public service that the University Libraries can provide. It is essential that liaisons work closely with the faculty and students, both to understand their needs and to keep them informed about Library services and resources.

The Liaison Program assigns a professional librarian to each department, school, and program to gather information about library needs, to assist the faculty with collection development, to alert the faculty to library services and policies, to communicate concerns between faculty and the Libraries, to provide instruction and research assistance for students and faculty, and in general, to serve as the contact person for the department, school, or program. The extent of each liaison’s activity will be affected by the nature of the discipline; departments, schools, and programs are not all alike and will not require the same degree of liaison activity.


Regular communication between the liaison and his or her academic unit is the foundation on which the program is built. Liaisons accept responsibility to make themselves known and available to the faculty and students. The ways in which such communication takes place varies and there is no established pattern, but face-to-face, on-site contact outside the library is encouraged. Communication may be through an official departmental contact person (such as the Faculty Representative) or departmental library committee, by visits to individual faculty or scheduled, on-site "advising hours," through printed or electronic communications, by periodic or regular participation in faculty meetings, and by attendance at lectures and social events.

It is equally important that liaisons communicate effectively within the library, sharing information with colleagues informally or in meetings so that library policies, collections, and services are responsive to the interests and needs of the academic community. Tasks performed by liaisons are inter-related with work performed and managed across library functional areas. Liaisons are expected to exercise initiative in the performance of their work, but to recognize that library functions are inter-dependent and need to be coordinated with their colleagues.

Collection Development/Information Access

Standard Liaison Activities

Liaisons assume responsibility for a range of collection development activities associated with the subjects and disciplines covered by their assigned departments, schools, and programs. Liaisons should all engage in the following activities:

  • Develop and maintain a good working relationship with their unit heads and faculty representatives
  • Develop and maintain an awareness of coursework, subject specialties, research practices, and academic plans for assigned units (new research, courses, faculty, degrees, reaccreditation, etc.)
  • Develop and maintain a comprehensive knowledge of information resources within assigned subject areas
  • Use this comprehensive knowledge of information resources to develop high quality Libguides to support faculty and student research
  • Assist faculty with requests for new books, journals, databases, and other resources
  • Assist faculty with creation and use of GOBI Alerts
  • Distribute Choice reviews and other book reviews/notices to appropriate faculty
  • When appropriate, order books and other resources using departmental or general library funds
  • For assigned book budgets, maintain an awareness of expenditures within the confines of budget allocations and communicate with faculty to ensure that budgets are spent in a timely manner
  • For electronic resources, suggest trials of new resources, be involved in discussions about potential subscriptions or purchases, and inform ERS about opinions and recommendations
  • Notify faculty about new library resources and services
  • Maintain on-going review of print and electronic serial subscriptions and options for alternative access
  • Evaluate collection strengths and weaknesses
  • Assist in the identification of material for transfer, withdrawal, or preservation treatment
  • Attend Collection Management Committee meetings in order be informed about collection related matters and to share information with others
  • Participate in the formulation and writing of approval plan policies and collection development policies
  • Provide support for reaccreditation review processes, new academic programs, and grant proposals
  • Encourage faculty to contribute works to NC DOCKS

User Services

Standard Liaison Activities

Liaisons perform a wide variety of services to faculty and students in their departments. Liaisons should all engage in the following activities:

  • Consult with students and faculty individually or in small groups
  • Provide reference assistance
  • Instruct individual(s), group(s) or classes for students and faculty
  • Develop and maintain guides to resources and services
  • Serve on academic committees concerned with Libraries’ services
  • Promote Libraries’ services and resources
  • Communicate regularly with the department chair and library representative
  • Learn and maintain awareness about the department’s curriculum and research interests

Additional Liaison Activities

The following list identifies potential activities for individual liaisons. It is not intended to be exhaustive or prescriptive; rather it is meant to outline a variety of actions to be considered when designing an action plan to work with departments.


  • Have name added to departmental mail and e-mail distribution lists
  • Create or update electronic distribution list of liaison clientele
  • Update Libguides or other "resources by subject pages"
  • Have Libguides linked from department, program web site
  • Produce Libguides on new services, collections, and research tools
  • Schedule regular on site visits, e.g. office or computer lab hours
  • Write a feature or column for departmental newsletter
  • Prepare and distribute library information news updates (electronic or paper) targeted to the liaison department
  • Meet with candidates for faculty positions

Information Sharing

  • Send letters and information packets to new faculty including adjuncts
  • Schedule individual orientation meetings with new faculty and adjuncts
  • Schedule library orientation session for new graduate students
  • Review and, if appropriate, revise undergraduate (First Year) orientation or instruction programs
  • Schedule demonstrations of relevant electronic products
  • Establish or update current awareness accounts for faculty or graduate students
  • Attend departmental meetings or other faculty inclusive gatherings
  • Survey and document faculty research interests
  • Serve on a departmental, program, or campus committee (e.g., facility re-dedication)
  • Assist with department, program, or campus self-study / re-accreditation / grant
  • Collaborate with faculty in developing curricula that promote information literacy
  • Share information on scholarly communication developments

New Directions

  • Work with department, program, or campus administrators to insure information literacy is fully incorporated into the program curriculum
  • Establish a teaching partnership with a member of the liaison departments or programs
  • Teach a course or a course component in the liaison departments or programs
  • Establish a research partnership with a member of the liaison departments or programs
  • Develop or help develop an interactive learning module in the liaison area
  • Develop or help develop a program that promotes active student centered learning
  • Build new library modules that can be used by First Year Experience or any other undergraduate program
  • Develop surveys to measure needs of remote and non-residential students and faculty
  • Work with the Digital Libraries Team to digitize a specific text or series of texts
  • Encourage faculty to publish in journals with open-access venues, especially those that allow archiving in NC DOCKS
  • Encourage faculty and others to support the Federal Research Public Access Act
  • Encourage faculty to use OJS software to develop an open-access journal, newsletter, or other serial publication
  • Generate funding ideas for use by the development officer and grants writer, and spend time with potential and key donors as appropriate.