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Director's Column
Conversations with Faculty

[image] 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—

Bonnie Clemens
Director of Libraries

Connections is published by The Libraries of The Claremont Colleges and distributed during Fall & Spring semesters.
Edited by
Gale Burrow. Last updated May 9, 2005 by Gale Burrow.