Sources: Fundamentals for the Academic Liaison

Sources: Fundamentals for the Academic Liaison

Fundamentals for the Academic Liaison. By Richard Moniz, Jo Henry, and Joe Eshleman. Chicago: Neal-Schuman, 2014. 208 p. Paper $58 (ISBN: 978-1-55570-967-9).

As the title states, this book is a fundamental overview of the common tasks performed by academic liaison librarians. Aimed at novices, this resource covers the basic concepts involved without getting lost in details that tend to vary among institutions. Thus this book serves as a solid foundation for library science students unfamiliar with the diverse responsibilities involved in being an academic liaison. The authors cover how the liaison role has evolved over time with new technologies, budget adjustments, and the changing nature of research; and yet they reinforce the idea that academic liaison work remains critical to the mission of many college and university libraries.

Each of the eleven chapters is concisely written to be about fifteen pages in length, and each chapter includes a convenient checklist of key concepts and separate bibliography. The fundamental duties discussed include orienting faculty to the library; developing subject expertise; assisting researchers; communicating with faculty; creating guides and online tutorials; performing collection development duties; teaching information literacy sessions; becoming "embedded"; supporting accreditation and new course development; and evaluating one's own effectiveness as a liaison. The book is not entirely comprehensive, as the authors do not differentiate among subject disciplines or types of academic institution. And the authors acknowledge that not all academic liaisons perform all of the duties listed, and different institutions will require liaisons to engage in these duties to varying degrees. However, for a brand-new librarian wondering where to begin, this book will provide solid advice.

Although clearly aimed at those just starting their careers, this volume might also benefit librarians returning to the profession after an absence, because it does address how liaison duties have changed. In addition, experienced librarians might find individual chapters useful when new duties are added to their jobs. For example, Chapter Four, on online tutorials, provides sound advice about using scripts and storyboards to plan out the actual tutorial before filming or production. This title could also be valuable in educating those outside the library about the diverse duties performed by academic librarians. This book will be a particularly useful resource for institutions with library science programs. In addition, it would be a great mentoring tool for new librarians.—Christina M. Kulp, Life Sciences Reference Librarian, University of Oklahoma Libraries, Norman, Oklahoma


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