Sunday, October 24, 2021

REVIEW: The Library Liaison's Training Guide to Collection Management (nonfiction book) by Alison M. Armstrong and Lisa Dinkle

The Library Liaison's Guide to Collection Management is nonfiction. I read it for work-related reasons.


This book is designed to help Collection Development Librarians train library liaisons in their duties and let them know what will be expected of them. It recognizes that not every library's liaison program works the same and includes a variety of local practice questions that can help a new librarian pinpoint the ways in which their current library might differ from other places.

I was tempted to skip to Chapter 9, "Collection Assessment and Weeding," because I checked this out primarily in an effort to figure out ways to convince librarians who were reluctant to weed that they needed to do so. Since it was so short, however, I figured I'd just read the whole thing. Now that I have, I think it would also be useful for my library's current efforts to reconfigure our liaison program.

My library has historically not given library liaisons much guidance on what they should be doing. Some liaisons are more involved in their assigned departments than others, primarily due to a combination of their regular duties and level of knowledge. Everyone is expected to communicate with their departments on some level at least a few times a year, and every liaison librarian is responsible for at least some of the collection management duties for their subject(s), soliciting purchase recommendations from faculty, making purchase recommendations themselves, and doing occasional weeding.

We've had a lot of personnel changes in the past year, which has exposed some of the issues in the way we currently do our liaison program. New librarians aren't always aware of what they should be doing, and our new Dean's expectations don't always match up with what we've generally done. As a result, some changes are being made, and it's still not entirely clear what our liaison program might look like a year from now.

The local practice questionnaire at the end of this book, which collects all of the local practice questions listed at the end of every chapter, might be a good place to start. It's also a great list for new library liaisons to go through and would likely have been helpful to me when I first started working at my library.

Like a lot of practical guides, this isn't intended to be used on its own. Ideally, one would read this and then supplement it with a local practice manual and/or get training specific to one's own institution. If your library doesn't have a formal library liaison training program, it might be necessary to talk to librarians whose work more directly overlaps potential liaison work to figure out what the local expectations are.

Overall, a good, quick read designed to give library liaisons a general understanding of what sorts of collection management activities they might be expected to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment