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Subject Librarians Innovatively Partnering at the University of Central Florida: The Manager

Guide to accompany the May 15th 2015 FLA Subject Librarian Panel

Changing the Subject Librarian’s role from reactive to proactive

The new Subject Librarian initiative has sought  to change the  Librarian’s role from reactive to proactive.

Instead of scheduling Reference Librarians to spend a significant portion of their day tied to a service desk or back office waiting for constituencies to come to them, we have spearheaded a  new service model that emphasizes the importance of proactive Subject Librarian outreach to UCF constituencies to advance  collection development, scholarly communication, and Faculty/Student teaching, learning, and research.

Adjunct part-time librarians have been hired & trained to staff  the Research & Information Desk,to relieve the Subject Librarians of half of their desk hours and allow more time for outreach.

The new UCF “Subject Librarian Service Model” re-aligns the Librarians’ subject assignments so as to more closely align each librarian with a particular UCF college (trying to keep all or most academic department and program assignments within the same UCF College) in order to maximize positive impacts on: collection development, scholarly communication, and Faculty/Student teaching, learning, and research.

Activities supported to ensure the success of the Subject Librarians include:

Academic department profiling  so that the Subject Librarians thoroughly understand the mission, goals, activities and new directions of their assigned academic departments and programs as well as the department’s criteria for promotion, review and tenure.

Academic faculty profiling so that the Subject Librarians are thoroughly acquainted with their assigned faculty members’ research, grants, publications, teaching assignments.

Curriculum mapping  so that the Subject Librarians are thoroughly acquainted with the tiered curriculum of their assigned departments and programs in order to achieve more refined, on-target curriculum integrated library research instruction & collection development.

Making Subject Librarians more accessible

The new Subject Librarian Service Model  emphasizes  enhanced visibility and accessibility of Subject Librarians via the creation of a high profile Subject Librarian Web site    that publicizes  the new Subject Librarian service model to academic departments, academic faculty and students…..

and visually connects Subject Librarians to their assigned constituencies and Collection Development assignments

In addition to a new Subject Librarian web page and the Collection Development web pages….individual portraits of the Subject Librarians  (along with their personal messages to the university community) are featured within the library’s digital signage system.

Also, a new photo-enhanced Research & Information Services web site      adds to the visibility and prominence of the new Subject Librarian Service Model.

New emphasis on Subject Librarians becoming more mobile

Subject Librarians are getting out of the Library building and spending quality time  visiting their assigned academic departments,  participating  in departmental group meetings and  meeting one-on-one  with their faculty in their  offices.

In addition to physically getting out of the library,  the Subject Librarians also are proactively reaching out to their assigned academic departments and faculty through  Subject Librarian-authored e-newsletters.

What messages are the Subject Librarians taking to their academic departments and faculty? 

Often the librarians are alerting faculty to the amount of funds available for new monographs or updating them on major new purchases.   Taking the time to advise faculty on channels of communication and giving them assurance that their voice is being heard will lead to better interaction and positive results.

For example, Political Science Subject Librarian Linda Colding’s  Fall newsletter:

“The library will have about $3000 to purchase materials this year. Please work with your library liaison, Jo Smith, to submit requests. This money is strictly for books and/or DVDs. One question I will have for you is whether you would like to purchase the item electronically. Unfortunately we are not permitted to purchase journals with this money because those orders need to be renewed each year and we don’t know what our budget will be in the future. Also, sorry but no textbooks!”

Subject Librarians & scholarly communication

The Subject Librarians also use their e-newsletters to send out messages about Scholarly Communication services  to their assigned academic departments & faculty.

The  UCF Libraries “Scholarly Communication Advisory Group”  encourages the Subject Librarians to participate in Scholarly Communication initiatives  and provides support (both in person and via the SC web site) to the Subject Librarians as they reach out to their academic departments and faculty to explain and interpret Scholarly Communication  issues such as Open Access and Author’s Rights.

Subject Librarians communicate frequently with their assigned academic faculty about Scholarly Communication and Open Access issues. This year Subject Librarians have worked with their assigned academic departments to identify individual academic faculty members who serve as “UCF Faculty Open Access Champions” on the UCF Libraries’ web site and in library programs and displays.