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Resources for Faculty: Liaison Program


The Library is committed to fostering collaborative relationships with academic departments and programs across campus. We rely on departments and programs to help us build the library's books, journal and database collections, which in turn support student learning. While our structure within the library is fairly informal - you can contact any librarian with any question - we also use a liaison model to facilitate communication with departments and programs. Each department or program appoints a department/program liaison, who works closely with the library liaison for your department or program.

If you are a department or program liaison, congratulations! We look forward to working with you. We've put together this guide to outline the role and responsibilities of liaisons. 


The department/program liaison will

  • learn how the Gustavus Library operates in order to become familiar with the library's services and staff.   
  • facilitate communication among department or program faculty and the library about curricular and research needs, including purchase requests and other ways the library can best support student learning in your subject area.  

The library liaison will

  • communicate regularly with the department/program liaison about collections in your area (note that some communication will come from the Library Chair and/or the Acquisitions department).
  • reach out at various times with other news or questions related to library support for your area of expertise.  
  • will familiarize themself with your department or program's faculty, course offerings, and research needs.


Why should I be a department/program liaison?

  • As a department/program liaison, you are uniquely positioned to support student learning and research needs by helping to build library collections. It's also a great way to form deeper connections between your department/program and the library.

How much work is typically involved?

  • Past liaisons tell us that it doesn't take too much time (usually a few hours per month at most). You might occasionally need to route acquisitions packets from Choice magazine to your colleagues and return them to the library. If your department or program requests a database, you might serve as the point person in discussions with the library. You might also field occasional questions from your library liaison, too, including questions about reviews of materials in your area. 

How are department/program liaisons selected?

  • These decisions are made by the individual department/program. While faculty of all ranks have served as liaisons, it's an especially useful role for newer faculty, as it helps them become familiar with the Gustavus Library and its mission.

How are library liaisons determined?

  • Library liaisons are decided within the library, often with an eye toward pairing a library faculty member's interests or area of expertise to corresponding departments/programs. Library liaisons tend to stay with the same departments/programs for extended periods of times, but assignments sometimes get revised due to library faculty members' sabbaticals and other circumstances.

Does serving as a department/program liaison count as service?

  • Absolutely! Serving as a department/program liaison has traditionally been seen as service by the College.

How do I submit orders?

  • There are many ways to submit orders! You can use the online form or submit orders via your library liaison, who will route them to the Acquisitions department.


While building library collections are a major focus of the liaison program, conversations often include any and all aspects of library services, including instruction and other collaborative initiatives to support student learning. We encourage you to read more about our collection development process and policies.

With regards to collections:

The department/program liaison 

  • solicits orders for the collection (books, media, etc.) from the department/program; this might involve routing Choice packets sent by the Library's Acquisitions department.
  • reminds department/program members to submit orders prior to various budget deadlines.

The library liaison

  • communicates information about gaps and strengths in the department/program's collection area
  • orders additional materials for the library collections in your area.
  • facilitates any requested trials of databases.
  • seeks occasional department/program input into collections reviews, such as reviews of print journal holdings.

With regards to other library services:

The department/program liaison

  • encourages fellow department/program colleagues to collaborate with the library on instruction.
  • encourages fellow department/program colleagues to reach out to the library with any questions.
  • advocates for the library across campus, making its services known and bringing any questions or concerns to us for clarification and future discussion.

The library liaison

  • creates and maintains research guides for your specific department/program.
  • teaches research/library instruction sessions for students in your department.*  
  • collaborates on any questions you or your department/program may have about libraries, undergraduate research behavior, best practices for teaching research methods to undergraduates, tips on pursuing your own research, etc. 

*We have a robust and collaborative instruction program for all levels (first year, upper level, and WRITL students) and are experts in developing and delivering pedagogical methods to help undergraduate do research well. Note that faculty members are welcome to contact any librarian for instruction if you prefer to work with a librarian other than your liaison librarian.

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