ACRL IS Current Issue Discussion Digest – ALA Annual 2015

Where to Begin? Advice to Instruction Librarians for Building Strong Relationships With Faculty

Discussion Convener: Amy Wainwright, Outreach & Student Engagement Librarian, John Carroll University

June 27, 2015 | 4:30pm – 5:30pm
San Francisco, CA | MCC 200-212

Building strong relationships with faculty is an important first step to creating a healthy and flourishing instruction program at your library. This session hopes to address many of the current issues and roadblocks associated with developing relationships with faculty and to allow librarians to take the lead with new relationships. This discussion session will emphasize communication building strategies and reflective teaching methods in order to empower librarians to construct more robust instruction programs on their campuses.

As previous research has shown, campus faculty often do not understand the complete role of a librarian and how librarians can help build stronger classes. Faculty do not always see librarians as their peers and in this situation will only trust librarians to do the most basic of instruction sessions. In order to create stronger and more trusting bonds with faculty, librarians can take an active role in the relationship. As many libraries move from basic one-shot instruction toward complex information literacy programs, librarians will need the trust of campus faculty to develop new forms of instruction.

Librarians can have more in-depth conversations with faculty to build better assignments and give new direction to instruction sessions. This will benefit the students and remind faculty that we have a wider range of skills at their disposal. In many cases, when librarians are able to open a new dialogue with faculty, the faculty can understand that instruction sessions should be changed. This discussion will help librarians problem-solve and engage their peers in order to feel confident with the faculty on their home campus.

In the discussion portion of this session, librarians will share their experiences and difficulties with their tables. Although our difficulties may be different depending on our location, there will be themes for our issues. After identifying issues and roadblocks to stronger relationships, participants will brainstorm to identify possible solutions. This session is meant to be a space for positive and creative problem solving and participants will leave with imaginative ideas to bring back to their campuses.

Discussion Questions & Topics
Discussion will be broken into two distinct sections: problem/issue identification and creating solutions

Section 1: Each table will take 20 minutes to discuss the first question.
What roadblocks have you encountered on your campus that makes it difficult to create new and strong relationships with your faculty?

Section 2: Each table will take 1-3 roadblocks and brainstorm solutions to address the issues.

Recommended Reading

Arendt, J., & Lotts, M. (2012). What liaisons say about themselves and what faculty say about their liaisons, a U.S. survey. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 12(2), 155-177.

Booth, C. (2011). Reflective teaching, effective learning: instructional literacy for library educators. Chicago : American Library Association, 2011

Meulemans, Y. N., & Carr, A. (2013). Not at your service: building genuine faculty-librarian partnerships. Reference Services Review, 41(1), 80. doi:10.1108/00907321311300893


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