The Role of the Academic Librarian

I became an academic librarian with this idea I could help students succeed. Having returned to college a second time after a 12-year absence, I was aware of the challenges students faced. I felt and still do that the academic library is the heart of the academy. The college or university functions successfully when the library is functional and mission driven. After working in libraries since September, 1997, I have learned that the most difficult process is change. Academic libraries need to change before them become irrelevant and this notion that we do not have to market, outreach and sell what we do is naive.

I have tried to state this message to anyone who will listen. It starts with outreach to faculty. Develop relationships with the faculty that teach research/writing based courses. They, like you want students to succeed for the most part. We still have haters and that will never change. Some faculty lost their way and actually hate teaching. It is the “golden handcuffs” and you will not change their attitudes. This is true in any profession. Do not waste your time with those folks. They are not very good at their craft, and at some point somebody will address it.

It is about teaching. Librarians need to teach credit courses. If you do not have library credit courses, create them. Make sure you are activity involved in one-shot instruction. This requires effort, emails, face-to-face conversations and phone calls. Be persistent in your goal. In a perfect world, in every writing/research a student connects with a librarian.

We need to become indispensable.

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