In partnership with your Subject Librarian, you are the principal channel of communication between your department or school and the Library. You represent the teaching, learning and research needs of your colleagues to the Library, and, in liaison with your Subject Librarian, you will be responsible for communicating Library matters and activities to your colleagues. Matters of mutual concern and communication include:
Communication between the Library Representative and the Subject Librarian includes continual informal communication, and regular meetings. We advise that you meet with your Subject Librarian about four times a year to discuss matters of mutual concern. We welcome any feedback you may offer concerning library collections and services from colleagues and students within your department.
It is helpful, whenever possible, for the Library Representative to introduce new colleagues to the Subject Librarian, so that they are aware of the services and support available.
You will be responsible for ensuring that your Subject Librarian can play an active role and liaise fully with your department or school to gain an overview of concerns and developments, thus enabling the Library to meet emerging needs for services and resources. This involvement may include the Subject Librarian’s:
It is important that the Library’s collections reflect departments’ current and future research strengths, and meet the learning needs of their students. Library Representatives should therefore liaise with and represent colleagues, and advise on Library collection development within their department’s or school’s subject areas. This will involve agreeing purchasing priorities and working with colleagues to assist in reviewing the collection within their discipline, and liaising with the Library about withdrawal or relegation of material. (Some departments involve administrative staff to help organise these activities.)
Before new units or programmes of study are set up, you are responsible for informing your Subject Librarian so that she or he can liaise with the appropriate person concerning new library resources.
At the beginning of each financial year, book budgets are allocated to departments, schools or faculties on the basis of FIS attributions. Within the academic year, an increase in resources can be agreed between the Director of Library Services and a department, school or faculty, and carried out by a transfer of departmental revenue to these budgets.
Your Subject Librarian will advise you about book budget allocations at the beginning of the financial year, and provide regular updates to keep you informed about expenditure. You are encouraged to communicate with colleagues about book buying priorities for the year, and to ask them for recommendations. It is helpful for your colleagues to prioritise their book recommendations according to the following priority order, and to indicate whether material is for teaching or research:
1 - essential; 2.1 highly desirable; 2.2 desirable; 3 relevant but of less importance.
Keeping a regular flow of requests for new purchases throughout the year is helpful, as a build-up can result in delays. The majority of the book budget should be spent by April.
Departments, schools and faculties are given a separate budget for inter-library loans. It is possible to transfer funds from the book budget to the inter-library loans budget, or vice versa. The Library Representative (often with the help of departmental administrative staff) can help the Subject Librarian monitor the flow of inter-library loan vouchers, to ensure the allocation is appropriate to current needs.
Whilst the Library does not have a dedicated new journal, eBook or database subscription budget, recommendations for new subscriptions are welcome. (Please note that it may be necessary to cancel existing subscriptions in order to pay for new ones.) The Library Representative can help the Subject Librarian keep his or her finger on the pulse of requirements.
The Library holds occasional reviews of journal provision to ensure that subscriptions are still appropriate to current need, and to consider new subscriptions. The Library Representative is a key contact in that review.
Working with your Subject Librarian helps to ensure students have the awareness and skills they need to find and use a wide range of information sources, including those not directly available on the Internet or within the walls of the library. In addition, librarians can help students, many of whom rely heavily on the Internet, to address questions relating to the provenance and reliability of the material they find there, and to be aware of the potential for plagiarism. One of the best ways to help students gain these skills is for Subject Librarians and academic staff to work together to teach information skills in a manner which is integrated with the academic programmes of your department, school or faculty. The Library Representative can help to ensure that this communication between the librarian and academic staff takes place.
It can be useful to talk to your Subject Librarian before, during and after a teaching-related review in your department or school. Such discussion can help to ensure that the learning resources aspect of your programmes are accounted for and explicit, and can also enable you (and us) to anticipate and respond effectively to your students’ feedback about the library.
From time to time the Library develops and launches a new service or system. One of the best ways we can consult with and inform academic staff about our proposals is via Academic Library Representatives, who can help Subject Librarians gather the views of academic colleagues, and/or to participate in the best forum for discussing relevant issues.