Background: Liaison librarians serve as the organizational backbone of the information services department at many academic health sciences libraries. Liaisons facilitate communication and outreach between a school or service and the library, but what happens when communication is lacking between librarians? Traditionally liaison services at our library have been siloed, with one librarian responsible for one school/department or service (molecular biology, data services, and scholarly communications). Diverse levels of experience, communication barriers, and incoming new librarians added additional challenges. An innovative solution was required to support collaboration to integrate library services.
Description: In late 2018 library administration created the new position of Coordinator of Liaison Services to provide leadership to the library’s liaison program. The main responsibilities of the role are to facilitate communication and knowledge sharing between liaisons and develop best practices for integrating library services and outreach. The Coordinator is also responsible for organizing assessment of liaison services. The coordinator began by facilitating bimonthly informal liaison “teas”. The informal gatherings provided a space to share challenges and opportunities faced by liaisons. As the group evolved, new methods of meeting design were employed to increase communication. Ultimately, an update of the library’s strategic plan led to the self-identification of priorities to work on as a group. These priorities have set the agenda for the year and have resulted in multiple successful collaborative projects among the librarians.
Conclusion: Identifying one person as the Coordinator of Liaison Services has resulted in improved information sharing and dissemination. The coordinator also serves as a proxy for the needs of the liaison department, acting as a single point of contact for those in other library departments who have general questions about services. This lightening talk will include examples of the successful projects completed by the liaison group over the past 18 months.