Collaborative Librarianship, Vol 4, No 1 (2012)

Improving the Effectiveness of Librarian-Faculty Collaboration

Lan Shen


Librarian-faculty relations are essential to library collection development. This paper discusses, first of all, the reasons for the customary disconnect between librarians and faculty in light of their different priorities, visions, expertise, and status. In an attempt to bridge the librarian-faculty separation, a horizontal strategy is proposed focusing on financial collaborations between the library and other academic departments on campus, such as adopting the balanced budget, fair and rotated resource allocation, and prioritized investment through providing a General Reserve Fund. A vertical strategy is also proposed defined as an organizational and professional partnership through three different vertical levels, namely, the university, unit (department/program), and individual levels. At the university level, while the collaboration needs to cover the areas of book selection, evaluation, preservation, weeding, and cancellation, it should also rely on campus-wide workshops as an effective way of improving collection development and professional training. At the unit level, in addition to the department liaison model, it is advisable to organize specific forums focusing on the special needs required by different academic programs and departments. Individual level collaboration is critical to achieving the proposed goals as all institutional strategies must rely on individual efforts. Librarians should provide individual, informal, and customized outreach services.

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