Session Description

Panel members discuss the reframing of library faculty roles at one public liberal arts institution after several years of teaching frustrating one-shots, trying to collaborate in a non-functional liaison model, and sitting at an antiquated reference desk. As the librarians adapt to changes in technology, information needs, and learning models, they aim to remain viable and maintain a sustainable workload while still feeling invigorated by the profession.


Adaptation, reframing, Information Studies, identity, Frameworks, Academic Libraries, Liberal Arts


May 12th, 10:15 AM May 12th, 11:15 AM

Weathering the Storm: Riding the Waves of an Evolving Profession in Turbulent Times

Grand Maple Ballroom

Librarians are no strangers to re-envisioning themselves. From the closed stacks and “guardians of information” era, to the open learning commons and information desk model, we have evolved as needed to better serve the needs of our communities. As we adapt to changes in technology, information needs, and learning models, we aim to remain viable, maintain sustainable practices, and still feel invigorated by our profession. This can be a struggle given the need to continue some traditional aspects of librarianship, while trying to incorporate innovative information literacy practices, dynamic collection development, and cross-campus collaboration.. Non-library faculty and campus administration often have an “ideal library” in mind that doesn’t necessarily fit with the changing professional identity of some academic librarians. Library faculty often feel a sense of double-consciousness as they are asked to support other faculty, but also engage in their own teaching and scholarship. Additionally, as budgets shrink, it can be difficult to remain optimistic about the viability of the library. However, uncertain budgets, and a rapidly evolving environment has given one library a sense of opportunity and a desire to proactively change their identity on campus.

This panel focuses on how library faculty at one public liberal arts institution are working toward reframing themselves, their work, and their library. They will discuss the challenges and benefits of reframing information literacy sessions, and creating and teaching in an Information Studies minor. They will highlight the changes in workload as they looked to new ways of working with campus faculty on information literacy, collection development, and liaison work, and became involved in campus initiatives beyond the library. They will address the challenges and opportunities that arise from using students to staff the library’s information desk and teach database demonstrations in place of librarians. Finally, they will discuss how their identity is evolving to incorporate new Framework principles and what they envision for the future of their library. Attendees of this session will leave with an understanding of the benefits and challenges of changing public service models, liaison roles, and instruction and reference work for library faculty.


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