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ARL Convenes Library Liaison Events at ALA Annual and Penn Libraries

ARL Library Liaison Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, July 2018, photo by Rita Vine

On Monday, June 26, in conjunction with the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, ARL sponsored a two-hour meeting for liaisons who have previously participated in ARL Library Liaison Institutes, and other interested colleagues, to collaboratively explore thorny issues in liaison engagement. Conveners Kornelia Tancheva (University of Pittsburgh), Rita Vine (University of Toronto and ARL visiting program officer), and Elizabeth Waraksa (ARL) used inclusive facilitation models derived from Liberating Structures to build collaborative strategies to move from a tradition of library service to one of institutional impact. Participants were also invited to provide feedback on a draft set of indicators of liaison engagement. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday, July 10–11, Rita Vine and Elizabeth Waraksa co-facilitated another ARL Library Liaison Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. Participants included 50 library staff with outreach responsibilities at the Penn Libraries, together with colleagues from Penn’s Center for Teaching and Learning. A panel of five faculty members and recent PhDs kicked off the institute, sharing “what keeps them up at night” with regard to their teaching, research, publishing, and data management (see some of the tweets from this event at #arl_liaison).

Building on the panel, institute participants explored the libraries’ value proposition, considered possible futures for liaison work, and shared strategies for successful faculty communications. These exercises were followed by an unconference on five topics of pressing local interest. The Penn Libraries liaison institute was the 10th institute offered to ARL members and allied organizations since the initial pilot institute of summer 2015, and both of these summer events were complemented by the release of Research Library Issues (RLI) 294, featuring five case studies of library liaison reimagining and reorganization.

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