Liaison Information for Faculty & Graduate Students

A liaison librarian works with an academic unit (e.g., a department or faculty) to ensure that the library-related needs (around research, teaching, and collections) of the unit’s faculty members and graduate students are addressed. Units differ in their cultures and traditions, so the details of a library liaison relationship will vary, but the bottom line is that you can contact your liaison librarian with any library-related question or concern. See the list of liaison librarians if you are unsure who yours is.

To keep you informed, your liaison librarian

  • Communicates (electronically or at a meeting) each fall with the faculty and graduate students of your unit to provide information on and seek feedback on such themes as:
    • New resources available through the Libraries
    • New library services
    • Library learning opportunities for faculty and students
  • Developments in scholarly communications
  • Informs you or your unit of any developments in the Libraries whenever they occur that may be relevant to your work
  • Contacts new faculty members in your unit to introduce them to the Libraries’ resources and services, and to learn their specific needs

To keep us informed, you
As an individual faculty member or graduate student, can

  • Inform your liaison librarian of ways to enhance the Libraries’ collections.
  • Contact your liaison librarian when an assignment with a significant library research component forms part of your course. The librarian can suggest ways to make the assignment run more smoothly and be an even more useful experience for your students.
  • Let your liaison librarian know if there are particular activities that the Libraries could undertake in order to address your teaching or research needs that may not be touched on in these pages.
  • Tell your students about us so that we can learn about their needs too. They are not always aware of the role that librarians have at a university, and may have anxiety about approaching the reference desks in the Libraries for assistance with a research assignment.

As a faculty member (or committee) designated by your unit for library liaison, can

  • Convey important recommendations or questions about the libraries that originate with your unit colleagues.
  • Facilitate communication between your liaison librarian and your unit colleagues regarding such unit matters as plans for new programs or areas of specialization, new faculty hires (so that the librarian can make contact with them), new graduate students, events where the librarian’s presence may be valuable (e.g., orientation week events, department meetings, or research seminars).

To support your research, your liaison librarian

  • Provides individual reference/research consultations with faculty members, graduate students, or research assistants. Consultations can occur in the library or elsewhere on campus (and, if necessary, by phone or e-mail) and may include:
    • Identifying relevant tools for handling information queries and offering guidance on over 200 electronic databases
    • Assisting with the construction of literature searches
    • Identifying and/or locating specific information such as bibliographic citations, statistical information, or documents produced by government agencies
    • Giving citation analysis advice relevant to particular authors or papers, or advising on impact factor assessment for journals in a given field.
  • Provides referrals for specialized assistance with the location and use of government information, geospatial information, datasets, audio/visual resources, and archival resources.
  • Provides an orientation to the Libraries each fall for new graduate students to support them in their research and teaching roles.

To support your teaching, your liaison librarian

  • Works with you in teaching research skills and information literacy concepts by
    • Preparing or arranging for course-specific library instruction sessions
    • Advising you on assignments involving library or Internet research
    • Informing you of upcoming library workshops for students
    • Informing you of online learning tools
  • Develops relevant general subject research guides or course-specific web pages.
  • Prepares library support statements relating to new (and significantly changed) courses and programs.
  • Prepares library reports for program reviews and accreditations (graduate, undergraduate and professional).

To build a library collection for your needs, your liaison librarian

  • Builds and maintains a collection to meet the evolving curriculum and research profile of your unit.
  • Develops collections for relevant subject areas in consultation with your unit.
  • Keeps abreast of developments in scholarly communications to ensure that the Libraries are able to take advantage of emerging opportunities for better access to scholarly information.
  • Welcomes and responds to your requests and recommendations for specific library resources, including but not limited to:
    • Books and journals
    • Bibliographic or full text journal databases
    • Films (usually on DVD or videocassette), music, or other audiovisual resources
    • Government information and statistical, geospatial and other data sets.
  • Succeeds in meeting most book and media requests. However, as journal and database subscriptions entail ongoing costs, these requests must be reviewed especially carefully to ensure that they can be accommodated in the overall collection budget.