Librarians Assume Multifaceted Roles in Today’s Academic Communities

On May 12, the Academic Libraries of Indiana (ALI) held the 2011 Annual Members’ Conference, an event attended by 65 deans, directors, and librarians from throughout Indiana. ALI is a consortium of 70 academic libraries and has as its mission strengthening its membership through mutual collaboration, resource sharing, and advocacy.

The Conference included Save Your Place, a lively and interesting panel discussion moderated by James L. Mullins, Dean of Purdue University Libraries. The three panel members included Karla Alexander, Director of Library Services at the University of Saint Francis, Lewis R. Miller, Dean of Butler University Libraries, and Jessica Placke, Director of Libraries at Ivy Tech Community College, Central Indiana.

Panel members outlined many proactive, value-added contributions that academic librarians provide to their colleges and universities. These are listed below, including several that recognize corollary and essential contributions for today’s academic enterprise and beyond. These additional topics were not identified during the panel session because of time constraints. Nonetheless, they are highly significant and need to be identified as such.

Academic librarians, through their professional training, experience, and by maximizing their libraries’ resources and physical facilities, provide services to students and faculty and the academic community in many ways:

  • Disseminate and interpret library informational materials to meet student and faculty requirements for research and learning
  • Provide information literacy instructional programs through academic partnership with classroom faculty employing traditional one-time library sessions along with external expansion that embeds librarians in classes and library services across the campus
  • Engage in ongoing assessments of services, uses of new and emerging technology, and resource collections that enhance and support the academic curriculum
  • Lend subject and research expertise on an individual basis to students to strengthen life-long learning skills
  • Provide a wide variety of programs, services, and resources to strengthen student participation in global societal issues and promote their lively commitment to their physical and mental well-being
  • Share professional skill and expertise to support institutional goals and initiatives through participation in co-curricular learning environments, learning communities, and problem-based learning teams to address issues such as distance learning and enhancing student retention
  • Maintain high quality technology behind the scenes and for public use to maximize the users’ experiences and provide opportunities for exposure to state-of-the-art advances
  • Engage in the selection, acquisition, organization, and preservation of integrated collections of print and digital materials that are creatively managed and made readily available to an expanding rich environment of global resources
  • Employ content aggregation, access management, and data warehousing of student and faculty-produced digital academic resources to increase the availability of scholarly output in traditional and emerging formats and technologies

Academic librarians are at the forefront for providing and augmenting services to students and faculty both in the academic library and the academic community.

A more detailed account of the ALI Annual Members’ Conference can be found in the 2011 ALI Conference Newsletter, http://tinyurl.com/63xaawh.

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