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Librarian-academic collaboration: the role of relationship management Dr MN Wiggill School of Communication Studies North-West University (Potchefstroom.

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Presentation on theme: "Librarian-academic collaboration: the role of relationship management Dr MN Wiggill School of Communication Studies North-West University (Potchefstroom."— Presentation transcript:

1 Librarian-academic collaboration: the role of relationship management Dr MN Wiggill School of Communication Studies North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus)






7 INTRODUCTION Context –Librarian-academic collaboration –Strategic communication and relationship management Research methodology Results Recommendations

8 LIBRARIAN-ACADEMIC COLLABORATION Role of academic libraries - assist university in obtaining main goals - research & teaching of undergraduate and graduate students Provides access to information & information services Information age – must be information literate Academic library – “learning centre” Academic librarians - active key educators Information literacy - vital to students’ academic success, therefore librarian-academic collaboration vital What is librarian-academic collaboration? –In this collaborative effort, the librarian acts as expert, scaffolding the faculty member’s skills in technology; the faculty member as an expert, scaffolding the librarian’s knowledge of research and teaching pedagogy; and the faculty member and librarian (as peers) collaborating to scaffold students’ research methods, knowledge and skills ( Bhavnagri & Bielat, 2005:122)

9 LIBRARIAN-ACADEMIC COLLABORATION - ADVANTAGES Academics - understand scope of library’s support for teaching and research Librarians - familiar with course work - assist students more effectively Academics - design assignments taking the library’s available resources into account Academics - more reasonable expectations of students’ ability to do research & use information sources Information literacy training - part of formal academic courses (librarians - implement assessment procedures & act on results) Academics, who feel that the library understand their needs and who are knowledgeable about the library and its services - encourage students to make use of the library Students - appreciate libraries & ensures long-term use of libraries Students - understand research process better - improved pass rates Independent library research - emphasised as a valuable, life-long learning skill

10 Library irrelevant - availability of Internet as “easy” way to find information Librarians - required to provide information literacy training –academics not always required to cooperate with librarians Librarians feel unprepared for instructional roles Parent instititutions of libraries – little/no acknowledgement of role of information literacy in strategic statements General ignorance - importance of information literacy; role & proficiency of librarians in conveying these skills Negative corporate image – hampers facilitating librarian-academic collaboration Academics - mostly ignorant of role of library –Academics - not always in favour of collaborative program planning and teaching involving professional library staff - especially due to time constraints Unequal balance of power - provision of in-class time for information literacy -“gift” from the academic & librarians “dependent” on academics Librarians – don’t understand nature of academic work & needs of academics Unsuccessful llibrary advocacy – one-way communication LIBRARIAN-ACADEMIC COLLABORATION – REASONS FOR NO/STRAINED COLLABORATION

11 STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT Strategic communication management – engage with stakeholders to create mutual understanding –Outcome – strong, mutually beneficial relationships Communication strategy - aligned to organisation’s vision, mission & goals - contribute to success & effectiveness Organisation’s reason for being - reflected in its vision, mission and goals - reflected in its communication strategy All communication – reflect reason for being - public legitimacy & social trust Libraries - continuously engage with stakeholders –Two-way communication - obtain mutual understanding of each others’ goals and needs –Mutual understanding - strong relationships & more effective librarian- academic collaboration

12 RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT Outcomes of strong relationships: –Trust: integrity, dependability, competence –Control mutuality –Commitment –Level of relationship satisfaction

13 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Qualitative approach Semi-structured interviews –4 academic libraries Ferdinand Postma Library, North-West University – Director, Information Librarians Leeds Metropolitan University Library, England – Information Librarian Campusbibliotheek Arenberg, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium - Director Library of the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands - Director –Aim - obtain a better understanding of how academic libraries communicate to obtain librarian-academic collaboration

14 AIMS OF INTERVIEWS Aims of the interviews: –determine the nature of the libraries’ communication strategy; –determine whether the interviewed libraries’ communication is founded in the university as well as the library’s vision, mission and goals, reflecting its reason for being; and –determine how the librarians communicate with academics to foster librarian-academic collaboration

15 No communication strategy No formally planned communication programmes, campaigns or plans No account of communication needs of strategic stakeholders COMMUNICATION STRATEGY

16 STRATEGY-DRIVEN COMMUNICATION – “ reason for being” Intuitively strategic – library personnel’s job descriptions – 2 Directors 2 Information Librarians studied university & library’s vision, mission & goals – plan communication & work accordingly 1 Information Librarian – worked long enough, does not need vision, mission & goals Other Information Librarians – agreed - guide communication & provide grounds - persuasion regarding the important educational role of the library

17 COMMUNICATION TO ENHANCE LIBRARIAN-ACADEMIC COLLABORATION Directors: –No difficulties in conveying the libraries’ reason for being and its supporting educational role to senior university stakeholders –Some in academic community – ignorant of library’s role Information Librarians –Librarian-academic collaboration - difficult - many academics do not perceive librarians & services as valuable; no time to spend on library awareness campaigns –Leeds Metropolitan University - “How” shift to “why” - librarian-academic collaboration based on library’s reason for being –Campusbibliotheek Arenberg - service delivery changed from “Just in time” to “Just for you” –Engage in dialogue – NB to ascertain academics’ needs Building strong personal relationships - Information Librarians & academics mutually acknowledge and support each other’s role –Coinciding information literacy training with assignments – better results Some librarians – do not communicate positive outcomes strongly enough –Academics do not convey information to students –Some feel that it is not librarians’ role to promote, market or communicate about library’s services and products, or to have an educational role - no training

18 RECOMMENDATIONS Communication and relationship management strategy based on library’s vision, mission and strategic goals –Focus on library’s reason for being – legitimacy –No need for library advocacy – academic community would understand library’s role –Improved corporate image –Students trust librarians & library information sources –Students more willing to attend training

19 Engage in two-way communication (dialogue) –Understanding of academics’ needs & constraints Attending departmental meetings, introducing yourself & library services to newly appointed faculty Personal appointments – determine personal needs & constraints – sometimes basic knowledge gaps Personalise service & products for each academic - would feel valued by the library –show interest in academics’ research areas – eg recommend relevant/new databases –Ask questions, feedback on appropriateness of information/services provided Focus communication on how library is adding value to academics’ & students’ educational experience Provide excellent service - build and maintain strong relationships to ensure effective collaboration –Academics need to trust that the librarian are so committed that the best possible research and service would be provided PRACTICAL RECOMMENDATIONS

20 CONCLUSION Compile communication & relationship management strategy Focus on reason for being Build strong relationships with academics – trust & commitment foundation Result – effective librarian-academic collaboration


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