The purpose of this paper is to analyze job advertisements in United States academic libraries in order to determine the prevalence of jobs that contain a liaison component. It also aims to report on a survey of current library science graduate students to assess their level of understanding of what liaison work entails and what type of preparation they have had for such work in their LIS program.
The study includes an analysis of 313 academic library job advertisements. It also uses a 12 question survey, which was distributed to 52 library school listservs throughout the USA. The survey announcements resulted in 516 responses from library school students nationwide.
Of the jobs surveyed more than a quarter specifically mentioned liaison activities. The survey showed that few respondents have been exposed to a discussion of liaison work in their classrooms. Those who have demonstrated greater awareness of what constitutes liaison work demonstrate greater self‐confidence in their ability to become successful liaisons.
The anonymous survey did not require participants to indicate what school they attended, possibly resulting in a geographically biased sample. The survey also did not ask respondents at what point they were in their program, so that some respondents may have been very new to their library school studies and may not have had the opportunity to take many classes at the time of the survey.
This study suggests that library schools should find ways to incorporate a discussion of liaison work into some part of their curriculum, especially for students interested in academic librarianship.
No other studies have analyzed job descriptions in terms of liaison work, nor have any studies surveyed students to determine their knowledge of, and preparation for, this type of work.
Ilene Attebury, R. and Finnell, J. (2009), "What do LIS students in the United States know about liaison duties?", New Library World, Vol. 110 No. 7/8, pp. 325-340. https://doi.org/10.1108/03074800910975151Download as .RIS
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