Courtesy: Ti Yu., 2009. A new model of faculty-librarian collaboration: the faculty member as library specialist. New Library World. 110 (9/10)
In view to serve and satisfy all the users in the academic community and also provide the right information to each user, academic libraries overseas are looking for better ways and means to promote their services and resources. The faculty-librarian collaboration is a new approach to assist users find, organise, evaluate and apply content of the information they require. It consists of active, close and consistent work between faculty members and the personnel of the library. It is found that the sharing of individual experiences and knowledge of both groups enables the provision of suitable guidance. Consequently, in order to establish effective faculty-librarian collaboration, the Jinwen University of Science and Technology (JUST) in Taipei, Taiwan introduced the new model of “Faculty member as Library
Specialist to improve the provision of services in various ways”.
Provision of subject-specific information needs:
It is not easy for qualified professional librarians to provide accurate subject-oriented reference services to students and faculty members from different fields of learning in a particular university. As a result, the Library Specialists are assigned to provide more in-depth information, reference advice services on subject-specific information needs and database retrieving skills for students and teachers. Complicated topics are thus passed on by the library staff and handled by Library Specialists to better answer the users.
Integration of library resources into courses:
At the same time as teaching the students how to find and use both printed and electronic resources in the library, the Library Specialists work closely with the library staff to integrate the library resources into their curricula. They design library assignment sheets, workshops, classroom activities which in addition encourage the students to use the library resources and
share the knowledge and experiences.
Organising book clubs:
The JUST library provides a reasonable budget to Library Specialists to organise book clubs in particular subjects. Stories and ideas in fields like Business Management, Hotel Management and Chinese Literature are posted in the blog by different lecturers where they are able to share their experiences, discuss a famous person or talk about a new book with different readers online. Moreover, there are regular reading workshops and introducing of the works of a particular author in order to attract students to read and encourage them to borrow more books from the library.
Consultation support for collection development:
Library specialists become consultants to the library staff as they provide suggestions, answer inquiries, select the right monographs, journals and e-resources to review the quality and build the collections of each discipline in the library.
Providing e-portfolio skills:
The Library Specialists give training and advises to students in the JUST to create their own e-portfolio on the web which is an important collection of electronic evidence of their learning record and achievements.
The implementation of the faculty members as Library Specialists clearly marks a positive influence in the use of the library which led the university to recommend a teacher from each academic department to be a Library Specialist to provide professional knowledge to users. Incentives such as extra two points for their annual teaching evaluation and financial
rewards for their time and efforts are also given to motivate the faculty members to join the project with the aim to help the library to promote its resources and assist students to become a knowledgeable person.
The traditional methods of providing services and building up the collection in the academic libraries in Mauritius compels the users to depend on the inadequate resources and knowledge of library staff to satisfy their information needs in particular disciplines. The faculty-librarian collaboration system is indeed required at some stage in higher learning
and it could be given some thought in the local context. Obtaining a good support from the authorities, establishing an active relationship and good communication with the faculty members could facilitate to set up a harmonious faculty-library collaborative platform for the benefit of the users.