Do you ever wonder why the Libraries donít have resources you need for
that new course you just got approved? How electronic databases are
selected? Or why your students use sources that seem inappropriate to
their papers? The ability of the Libraries staff to answer your questions
and address your concerns is dependent upon our knowing and understanding
the needs of the academic programs of each college. To underline this point, the
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Visiting Team stressed the
need for greater communication and collaboration between The Colleges and the
Libraries in their Final Report (January 2004).
The task of librarian subject specialists, who are charged with serving as liaisons
with faculty in specific academic programs, is complicated by the uniqueness of
serving the seven independent colleges of the consortium.
Depending on the campus and the discipline, the ways students and faculty members
use libraries vary greatly.† Expectations that faculty have of the Libraries may
vary dramatically.† Furthermore, these expectations have not been discussed or
shared among librarians and faculty from the various campuses.
As a beginning point to better integration of library programs with the academic
priorities on each campus, the Academic Deans and I are undertaking a new
initiative. It is designed to further our shared goal of enhancing student learning
and scholarship through faculty and librarian collaboration.†† This initiative was
launched in April with dinner sessions for librarians and faculty in history, music,
and chemistry. These three initial conversations were framed around these areas:
faculty expectations of students in terms of research, scholarship, and use of the
literature; identification of areas that need the most improvement; and plans for
how librarians and faculty can work together to address these needs.
The subject specialists participating in these conversations are already using
information gleaned from their faculty counterparts. We believe that faculty found
the conversations equally useful and informative. In fact, initial participants
have agreed on the desirability of continuing these conversations as well as
including additional faculty next year.
With this successful beginning, we are looking forward to similar conversations
with faculty in other disciplines. If all goes as planned, we will host sessions
for faculty in six to eight additional subject areas during the next academic year.
Of course, you donít have to wait for your turn at a dinner conversation. Your
subject specialist (http://libraries.claremont.edu/about/dirs/subjspecs.asp) and
I are ready at any time to discuss your needs and those of your students. Have a
question or concern? Letís talk—
Director of Libraries