The Future of Subject Librarianship: Using Assessment Data to Guide the Continuing Education and Professional Development of Subject Liaison Librarians

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In 2014, the University of Maryland Libraries adopted a subject liaison librarian model to proactively deliver a full range of services to its faculty and students and move the Libraries into the future. Subject liaison librarians are Public Services librarians, responsible for developing and managing collections, reference, instruction and outreach in their assigned disciplines. They are required to be recognized specialists in their subject areas, and at the same time be professional librarians, skillful in libraryrelated operations. Challenged by severe changes in the academic environment, such as rapidly developing technology, proliferation of information, shifts in research and teaching priorities and methods, and consistently difficult budgets, subject liaison librarians must continually improve their skills and knowledge to keep current with the needs of the campus community, library profession, and their subject areas. To this end, the University of Maryland Libraries developed a professional development program for their subject liaison librarians, which combines internal and external learning and training opportunities, both individual and group based. Many academic libraries are embracing liaison systems as a way to provide better services and engage deeper with the campus community. Many think that this is the future of librarianship, and perhaps even survival of libraries. However very few institutions have been able to develop and implement a full-scale training program for liaison librarians, which is necessary to ensure the success for the program. This paper will bring all elements of developing and implementing a liaison training program, providing members of the audience with valuable ideas and tools that they can use in their own settings.


Presentation at the 11th Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries International Conference, 28-31 May 2019, European University Institute, Florence, Italy