Research & Education Librarian Harvard University BOSTON
Background: Our library’s research and instruction team recently instituted a liaison program to match librarians’ areas of expertise with departments in our schools of medicine, public health, and dental medicine. We focus here on the School of Public Health liaison program.
While we develop this liaison model, our library building is undergoing a major renovation, making it more difficult to reach our public health students, faculty, and staff. To counter this, we have initiated regular “pop-up hours” at the School of Public Health to remind them about our services, resources, and building changes.
Description: Two research librarians lead our public health liaison team, which also includes history of medicine and digital services librarians. During the fall semester, we scheduled two hour blocks of time, Wednesday mornings and Friday afternoons, when liaison librarians staffed a table in the School’s café. This is a location where many students congregate, collaborate on projects, and make their way to classes. During these hours, we offered free coffee and swag while we promoted our liaison program and research support services. Many were surprised to learn they could schedule search consultations, and that we offer custom classes targeting course assignments. Each week, we focused on different services and resources, with guest appearances by colleagues from other library departments. We also used this as an opportunity to talk about our renovation, and how future improvements will benefit students.
Conclusion: Between September and December 2019, during 23 two hour pop-ups, we spoke with 793 attendees. Public health students who met with liaison librarians for research assistance reported that they learned about us at our pop-ups. These conversations have led to contacts with faculty, who encouraged students to meet with us for help with literature searching. We will continue with this program in the spring semester, January to May 2020. Continuing to gather data on how many of our requests for consultations and classes are a result of these outreach efforts will inform us about the success of the program.