Academic journal article Partnership : the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

Breaking the Mould: How Re-Examining the Allocation Formula Led to the Creation of a Dynamic Role for the University's Librarians

Academic journal article Partnership : the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research

Breaking the Mould: How Re-Examining the Allocation Formula Led to the Creation of a Dynamic Role for the University's Librarians

Article excerpt


A modestly conceived proposal to change a long established allocation formula rapidly evolved into a new model of library service. The new model created five discipline fund groups: Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences, Educational Studies and Business Studies and the assignment of liaison tasks to the five professional librarians and the archivist. The goal of creating a fairer allocation was superseded by more substantive goals intended to: loosen the ties of collections funding to 24 departments by funding groups of cognate disciplines and unique programs of interdisciplinary instruction and research; involve all librarians in the task of collection analysis and development; and redefine librarian positions to promote their contribution as full partners with classroom faculty in solving problems and improving research and teaching. Along with improved collections, the ultimate goal was a full integration of the librarians' professional expertise with the University's newly drafted strategic plan.

Keywords: Academic libraries, collection development, liaison librarians, faculty-librarian relations, interdisciplinary studies

Who We Are

In 1925 Mount Saint Vincent, founded by the Sisters of Charity as an academy for young women, became the first degree-granting independent women's college in the British Commonwealth. Although ownership has been transferred to a lay Board of Governors and male students have attended since 1967, the University mission continues to be inspired by a strong tradition of social responsibility and an enduring commitment to the advancement of women. (Destination 2012: The Strategic Plan of Mount Saint Vincent University).

In 2007 Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) in Halifax, Nova Scotia had 4,309 students, 2,259 full-time and 2,050 part-time, registered in a wide range of arts, sciences, and professional studies programs. Of that total enrolment, 2,207 were full-time undergraduates and 907 were part-time undergraduates; 52 were full-time graduate students and 1,143 were part-time graduate students ("Association of Atlantic Universities > Home."). The majority of the 1,195 graduate students were working teachers enrolled part-time in the Masters of Education program. In the fall term of 2006, the most popular programs and majors, in excess of 50 registered students, were Business, Child and Youth Study, Public Relations, English, History, Applied Human Nutrition, Psychology, Biology, Information Technology, and Tourism and Hospitality Management (Enrolment Update: December 2006).

The Library is a charter member of Novanet, a consortium of academic libraries in Nova Scotia, founded in 1988, whose mission is to cooperate to enhance access to information and knowledge for the benefit of their user community of 44,000 full-time equivalent post-secondary students. In addition to MSVU, the member institutions are Dalhousie University, Saint Mary's University, the Nova Scotia Community College, Saint Francis Xavier University, the University of Cape Breton, the University of King's College, the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and the Atlantic School of Theology. Novanet members share a common catalogue with patron-initiated document delivery.

In addition to the University Librarian, the Library has five professional librarians with the formal titles of Coordinator of Public Services, Collections Librarian, Bibliographic Services Librarian, Extended Services Librarian, and Systems Librarian, and a part-time librarian who serves as the University Archivist. All librarians and the archivist are assigned shifts at the reference desk, and five of the six participate in classroom instruction sessions. As of fall 2006, all librarians work as liaisons with departments clustered into five disciplinary groups: Educational Studies, Business Studies, Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences.

The Impact of Interdisciplinary Studies

Multidisciplinarity is defined as "a juxtaposition of various disciplines, sometimes with no apparent connection between them. …

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