An Examination of the Relationships of Liaison Librarians and Academic Departments, Based Upon the Experiences of Librarians at a New Zealand Academic Institution
The objective of this research was to examine how liaison librarians interacted with their academic departments, and what factors impacted on their interaction. Interviews were conducted with twelve liaison librarians at an academic institution and documents such as web pages were examined. Among the techniques employed by liaison librarians were emails, newsletters, creation of course resource web pages, provision of teaching sessions and personal visits to departments. Librarians concentrated on different techniques in response to perceptions of what worked for the academic department. As librarians became established in their role they needed to balance the need to liaise with the significant time commitment involved in the delivery of the service. Liaison librarians regarded personal contact as extremely important to establishing and maintaining relationships. This could be difficult the further the liaison librarian was physically located from a department. Some librarians saw the standardization of procedures across the library system offered a barrier to the personal service they offered to academics. The small sample interviewed cannot be regarded as being applicable to all liaison librarians in all academic institutions. However, the study is a beginning point, and further research in this neglected area is needed.