Trendy or In Step with Times? A Year of Change at the University of Maryland Libraries


As needs of faculty and students are evolving, the University of Maryland Libraries respond by changing many of the library priorities. The role of subject librarians has been redefined, along with CORE competencies, annual reviews, and training needs for subject librarians. We developed Research Commons, an innovative service model, which offers both traditional and non-traditional library services in partnership with other campus units, to address emerging needs of campus researchers of all disciplines and levels (from undergraduate students to faculty) with their research, from initial concept to final product. We completely revamped our reference services, moving away from a traditional reference desk to a multidimensional mixed-model delivery of information needs, which allows us more flexibility and agility. We changed our instructional practices, centering on curricular development and evidence-based learning, including a robust student learning outcomes assessment program and a peer training program for librarians, Fearless Teaching Institute. In response to campus priorities and student needs we re-configured and improved physical and virtual spaces, including multifunctional flexible classrooms, dedicated areas for social needs, and even a biowall, which now adorns the entrance to our main building. In addition to our traditional services, we are offering non-traditional services, such as makerspaces, equipment loan, and stress relieving activities for students. These changes have benefited our users and our librarians. We have seen a significant increase in library use across the board, as well as increased participation in collaborative work among our librarians and faculty, and deeper embedment with departments. This presentation will concentrate on our achievements and challenges over the past year, and cover some of the changes described above, how they were designed, implemented and worked through difficulties.


Presentation at the Serbian Library Association meeting December 12-14, 2018 in Belgrade and Čačak, Serbia.