Liaison Responsibilities

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Revised January 30, 2013

In keeping with the mission of Dartmouth College Library, the primary role of the Library liaison is to communicate between the Library and its constituents: students, faculty, staff, and other affiliates of Dartmouth’s academic departments, programs and research centers. We believe that engagement is fundamental to the work of Library liaisons and informs all of their responsibilities.

Ideally, this document serves:

  • As the starting point for conversations with the Library’s constituents on the role of the Library liaison.
  • As a source of language that can be incorporated into position descriptions and annual performance goals.
  • As a supplement to the Dartmouth Libraries Bibliographers’ Toolkit.

For more information, please contact your Library liaison or subject specialist.

Note: When we speak of library “users” below, we are referring to the faculty, staff and students who comprise our primary group of patrons.


  • Serve as primary liaison to subject area(s) faculty, students and staff; take initiative to identify, meet, and facilitate ongoing communication about their resource needs and service expectations.
    • Actively engage with faculty, students, and staff in assigned departments or institutes in order to develop strong working relationships.
    • Promote library services and collections.
    • Assess user needs, design and implement user studies, share information about users with library staff and with departments or institutes.
    • Analyze trends in assigned discipline or area’s research and teaching; be aware of department or institute’s current and future programs; use information to respond to user needs.
    • Seek opportunities for collaboration with departments or institutes in the areas of collections (e.g. creating digital collections; contributing to institutional repository), teaching, and research.
      • Meeting regularly with subject-area faculty.
      • Establishing an effective working relationship with the Administrative Assistants in their departments/programs.
      • Participating in department meetings, activities, and programs.
      • Seeking professional development opportunities in subject areas through participating in scholarly organizations or conferences, regularly reading literature about trends in higher education, subjects, and disciplines, and sharing information with colleagues.
      • Developing studies to assess faculty and student research tools and methodologies and using the results to shape collections and services.
      • Conducting (and attending) workshops on specific database or technological innovations that can be used in teaching or research.
      • Engaging with library colleagues about interdisciplinary trends and department/institute activities.


  • Design and implement strategic and pedagogically appropriate instruction for library users through a variety of methods; promote library services and collections to the broader Dartmouth community.
    • Engage faculty and other teaching staff to integrate information literacy concepts and skills into the curriculum.
    • Play an active role in the Education & Outreach department’s programs in support of teaching and learning.
    • Develop and deliver strategic and effective instructional programs and learning materials based on pedagogically sound instructional design principles.
    • Develop and provide alternate learning opportunities such as LibGuides, train-the-trainer sessions, or research consultations.
    • Engage in reflective teaching through use of instructional improvement tools such as peer evaluation or teaching portfolios.
      • Examining the schedule of classes each semester; identifying core/foundational, research methods, and capstone courses; contacting appropriate faculty.
      • Meeting with directors of undergraduate studies and directors of graduate studies on a regular basis.
      • Attending departmental meetings to learn about curriculum and talk about instruction.
      • Attending Education & Outreach professional development workshops on a regular basis.
      • Identifying student learning outcomes in collaboration with faculty prior to library instruction sessions.
      • Using assessment methods to evaluate student learning, and using results to improve instruction.
      • Identifying and using new technologies in order to understand how they are being used for teaching and learning.
      • Assessing student learning in library instruction sessions; using results to improve instruction.


  • Provide in-depth, specialized research consultation and reference for Dartmouth College Libraries users.
    • Provide assistance and instruction in finding and evaluating information.
    • Provide assistance in accessing library resources and services.
    • Answer questions in person and through e-mail, phone, and instant messaging.
    • Provide consultations for specialized areas of expertise.
    • Extend services through office hours, embedded librarianship and support of student research.
    • Participate in the promotion of library research services and materials.
      • Participating in staffing the Library service points and electronic on-call services.
      • Holding office hours in a department.
      • Working with First-Year Writing and Senior Thesis students early and throughout their process to offer assistance.
      • Analyzing desk statistics, web logs, or other methods of data tracking to better understand user behavior and making recommendations on how to improve our research services or interfaces.
      • Working with Resource Sharing to access materials needed by patrons.


  • Develop and manage collections to support research and instruction in subject area(s) by formulating policies and selecting materials in relevant formats and languages.
    • Select material in relevant formats and languages to serve the research, teaching and learning needs of the Dartmouth College academic community.
    • Coordinate with the Associate Librarian for Information Resources to develop cooperative collection initiatives.
    • Manage collection funds effectively and in a timely manner.
    • Analyze collection characteristics and collection usage data to better serve Library users.
    • Discover and recruit institutional scholarly output, research data and other content for inclusion in the Libraries’ digital initiatives.
      • Communicating with faculty about new resources and collection management developments.
      • Reviewing serials subscriptions and standing orders and approval plans on a regular basis to make sure that they reflect current research and scholarship.
      • Analyzing subject area or discipline in order to inform collection development.
      • Adhering to Acquisitions’ calendar.
      • Coordinating effectively with Acquisitions and the Associate Librarian for Information Resources on vendor relations and donations.
      • Attending Collections Development Forum on a regular basis.
      • Participating actively in on-going collection management projects, such as serials collection review.
      • Coordinating with others liaisons to support collection development across the curriculum and for other campus initiatives.
      • Communicating with Associate Librarian for Information Resources on potential donors or grants for new materials.
      • Suggesting materials for inclusion in the Library’s digital collections.


  • Promote use of subject-specific information resources and services to meet user needs and expectations, utilizing current technologies and information tools.
    • Identify areas where new online learning and digital tools can place the library into the flow of teaching, learning, and research.
    • Participate in the coordination and integration of online tools in support of teaching, learning, and research.
      • Creating and maintaining appropriate online guides.
      • Working with Education & Outreach, Educational Technologies and the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL) to ensure that online course and subject guides are integrated into learning management systems.
      • Keeping up with emerging technology issues among faculty.
      • Communicating with and learning from colleagues on emerging technologies.
      • Keeping abreast of data management issues within assigned department(s) and being able to recommend consultants for referrals.
      • Testing tools and working collaboratively to solve technology problems.
      • Contributing to technology implementation efforts.


  • Educate and inform faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and campus administrators on issues of scholarly communication.
    • Be a resource for issues such as scholarly communication, open access, institutional repositories, and digital collections.
    • Monitor patterns of research and emerging issues in scholarly communication.
    • Demonstrate competency on broad issues of copyright and how to responsibly use resources in an academic setting.
    • Coordinate with Director of Scholarly Communication to promote policies and programs related to copyright, publishing and research with faculty and graduate students.
      • Helping faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students understand their rights as authors (e.g. that they can alter contracts to include retaining rights to distribute their own work in classes and on personal websites).
      • Advocating with authors and editors for sustainable models of scholarly and educational publishing.
      • Keeping up with current research in disciplines and areas of study and communicating emerging trends in modes of scholarship with library colleagues.
      • Assisting in content recruitment (e.g. identifying citation analysis tools to harvest new publications, identifying digital resources on campus that merit sustained access and require long-term preservation).
      • Participating in workshops, lectures, or other events relative to current copyright principles and applications.
      • Referring constituents to the Director of Scholarly Communication when appropriate after an initial response to queries.


  • Work with staff in technical and access services departments to ensure accurate and easy access to scholarly resources.
    • Work with technical services to improve discovery tools and interfaces.
    • Work with Acquisition specialists on managing funds.
    • Work with Access Services to facilitate connecting faculty and students to their research materials.
    • Support the creation of digital collections by contributing specialized expertise to their processing.
      • Providing sufficient bibliographic and, when appropriate, vendor information for orders.
      • Working closely with Acquisitions liaisons in managing funds.
      • Providing assistance to Acquisitions in vendor selection, romanization and verification of prices for out-of-print materials.
      • Providing specialized knowledge in locating and/or acquiring materials not owned by Dartmouth.
      • Testing databases and systems, and reporting problem links, access issues.
      • Reporting user feedback to improve interfaces for both local configurations and at the database level.
      • Advising on interfaces and metadata for digital collections.


  • Work with Education & Outreach to plan, execute and mount exhibits.
    • Identify potential topics for exhibits or events that promote services or collections or support campus goals.
    • Work with the exhibits coordinator to understand and execute planning, mounting and content issues.
    • Offer support to the exhibit coordinator in the creation of online exhibits.
      • Procuring rights releases for mounting images in an online exhibit.
      • Writing text that appeals to a wide audience to explain the exhibit.
      • Finding partners to collaborate on the exhibit or event.
      • Working with the Marketing Committee on publicity.
      • Planning events related to exhibits.


This document is an effort by the Dartmouth College Library’s User Services Group (USG) to articulate the evolving role of Library liaisons and to help define their changing responsibilities. It is understood that these are best practices and are not prescriptive, and may vary upon individual liaison roles.[1]


Ridie Ghezzi, Laura Graveline, Anthony Helm, and Cindy Stewart

[1]This document is adapted from the one developed at Duke University, and the work done at the University of Minnesota Libraries.