Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Business Liaison Collaboration: A Case Study

Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Business Liaison Collaboration: A Case Study

Article excerpt


The University of Louisville Libraries' Business Liaison Team designed Research Refresher workshops to assist faculty at the University's College of Business in using the Libraries' electronic resources. This case study discusses the Team's partnership with business faculty on the creation and marketing of the workshops and its effect on future collaborations.


The academic library has always been known as a place to go for a book, journal article, or item on reserve. During the past decade the format of these sources has changed from primarily print resources to a mix of print and electronic. Traditional resources and services have expanded to become electronically available from one's desktop. Accessing online scholarly materials is challenging for both the librarian and faculty member. But while the tools of scholarly research have changed, the need for library instruction remains: "Since most faculty find it difficult to keep up with the rapid growth in electronic information sources, instructional librarians need to instruct both students and faculty about these new sources." [1] Just as the tools have changed, instruction has expanded to include collaboration between librarians and faculty.

As the role of the librarian has evolved to support the learning environment, collaboration has emerged as a key element in liaison relationships with faculty. The Business Liaison Team at the University of Louisville Libraries collaborated with College of Business and Public Administration faculty to offer a new series of workshops called Research Refreshers, designed to highlight specific electronic resources and demonstrate how to effectively use them.

Literature Review

For over a century academic librarians have been involved in the integration of library instruction into the curriculum. From agricultural and teachers colleges of the 1920s to liberal arts colleges of the 1960s, the role of library instruction has steadily increased. [2] However, it was in the last quarter century that librarians moved beyond this instructional role into full partnerships with teaching faculty colleagues.

In the Seventies, the theme of integrated instruction increased within the literature. In "Integrated Library Instruction," Kennedy described Earlham College's efforts to move instruction from a time-consuming, individual activity to an integrated and more efficient classroom method. The key was the integration of library instruction into courses that relied heavily on use of the library. [3] Lehman's key article on the faculty-librarian relationship, "Library-Faculty Liaison in the Small College," introduced five methods to increase liaison activities: personal relationships, librarians on faculty committees, structured communication with faculty, the library committee, and bibliographic assistants. [4] These later became the focus for the library liaison movement of the Eighties and Nineties. Lehman encouraged librarians to play an integral role in the institution through open communication with administration and faculty. He believed that role would result in involvement by librarians in the development of new courses and degrees and changes in the curriculum. [5] His vision of having librarians involved outside the library might have influenced later collaborative efforts in course development and co-teaching.

Librarian-faculty interaction in the 1980s centered on course-integrated bibliographic instruction and library workshops designed for faculty. Course-integrated bibliographic instruction took several forms including team-teaching and curriculum development. This was demonstrated in several projects including the availability of a chemical literature course at the University of Colorado at Denver taught by a chemistry professor and a science librarian [6] and collaboration between a librarian and a sociologist at Mankato State University in the course Careers in Criminal Justice. …

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