New directions and changing perceptions: academic librarians as collaborators, mentors and influencers

Julie Toohey and Kylie Poulton,Griffith University

Concurrent session 26
Thursday 1 September 2016, 3:30pm - 3:55pm




The Australian higher education sector operates in an uncertain landscape as Federal funding for universities continues to diminish and the proliferation of non-university education providers has led to an increasingly competitive market.  Global competitiveness, industry engagement and higher education reforms are some of the major challenges facing the higher education sector. While these challenges are being actively addressed by universities, how are these challenges being addressed by institutional service providers, and specifically academic libraries?  How do Librarians ensure services are relevant and are aligned to the wider strategic direction of the academic community?  

A decade ago, an Academic Librarian, Liaison Librarian or a Faculty Librarian position required skills in collection management, information literacy and responding to reference queries.  Today, the newly created role of Griffith University Discipline Librarian requires skills in consultancy, partnering, data management solutions, open data, mentoring and expertise and advocacy around scholarly communications.

The key requirements of the role have changed fundamentally over the past two years. At Griffith, Librarians’ skills sets have been identified as transferrable into non-traditional roles.  Librarians are recruited into project teams taking on roles in change management and communication.  What are the challenges faced by the librarians in transferring their skills sets into a different operating culture.

While the role has evolved significantly, have the expectations and perceptions of our clients about what we do altered and how do Discipline Librarians acquire the skills that are needed to be successful? How challenging is it for librarians to leave behind the perception of the previous role and transition into new ways of working and engaging?

We will analyse position descriptions, research support services, training and professional development.  We will also audit research skill levels to identify gaps.  

Survey/interviews will be conducted with Discipline Librarians and the academic community.

Preliminary findings will be reported as part of the full paper, with an in-depth analysis presented at the conference. 

We will focus on how these roles are developing in response to a changed Library service model and the need to respond to the new demands and challenges that our clients and the broader higher education sector face.  This paper will also explore the challenges the Discipline Librarians face in this new role in terms of managing client expectations, mentoring and the uptake of new technology skills.  

Paper - Now available.

Presentation - Now available.


Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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