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Faculty / Librarian Collaboration Toolkit: Faculty Attitudes

Investigate and support best practices in faculty and librarian collaboration to more effectively meet local institution and library missions and serve the campus community.

Faculty Attitudes about Collaboration with Librarians

Resources on Faculty Attitudes on Collaborating with Librarians

Faculty are often unaware of what services are provided by the contemporary academic library. As a general manner of function, they tend to be self-reliant in their literature review searches, data management, and preservation processes. However, when aware of library services in these areas they are utilized and deeply appreciated. Both faculty and librarians note that collaborative relationships are built through one on one interactions through campus meetings and less through other communication means (emails, newsletters, library website, etc.).

Survey

What are librarians doing well?

Faculty believe that collaborating with librarians is important. 87% of faculty who were surveyed noted that librarian collaboration was either important or very important.

What can librarians improve on?

Librarians need to communicate more with faculty. 50% of faculty had librarians reach out to them about database trials, and 43% of faculty were contacted during times of collection weeding / deselection. When asked if they had collaborated with librarians to create course or program-specific Library Guides (e.g. LibGuides) at your institution, 50% responded that they had. Both the literature review and faculty survey noted how faculty were often unaware of products and services that librarians were providing.

What surprises us?

65% of faculty surveyed do not serve on committees with librarians, although 81% of librarians reported serving on committees. While there are fewer librarians than faculty to provide institutional service, the gap appears to be larger than expected. Are there more effective ways for librarians to provide institutional service and connect with a greater number of faculty?

Key Findings

  1. Faculty are often ignorant of what services are provided by the contemporary academic library.
  2. When faculty are aware of library services they are utilized and deeply appreciated.
  3. Collaborative relationships between faculty and librarians are built through one on one interactions through campus meetings, not through emails, newsletters, library website, etc.
  4. Faculty also tend to be self-reliant in their literature review searches, data management, and preservation processes.

Literature Review

Creaser, C., & Spezi, V. (2014). Improving perceptions of value to teaching and research staff: The next challenge for academic libraries. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 46(3), 191–206.
Gruber, A. M. (2018). Real-World Research: A Qualitative Study of Faculty Perceptions of the Library’s Role in Service-Learning. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 18(4), 671–692.
Nalani Meulemans, Y., & Carr, A. (2013). Not at your service: building genuine faculty-librarian partnerships. Reference Services Review, 41(1), 80–90.
Nelson, K. (2016). Study leave report: What do Faculty actually think Librarians do?
US Faculty Survey 2018: First Release of Key Findings. (2019). Retrieved March 4, 2019, from Ithaka S+R website: https://sr.ithaka.org/events/us-faculty-survey-2018-first-release-of-key-findings/
Wolff, C., Rod, A. B., & Schonfeld, R. C. (2016). Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2015 (p. 83). Ithaka S+R.

Suggested Actions

  1. Develop relationships through one on one conversations.
  2. Incorporate yourself into larger campus life to develop relationships.

Best Practices

1. Don’t take it personal! Faculty appreciate library services, when they know about them. However, often times faculty are unaware.

2. Relationships are key. The best mode of library outreach are one on one conversations conducted over a period of time.