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Subject Liaison Librarians Are Partners in Research and Education to UNLV’s Faculty

By BTL on October 2, 2013 7:24 AM | Permalink

Have you wondered how to access what the Libraries have to offer in a way that is most relevant to you and your students? Your subject liaison librarian is your best connection. As subject research specialists, liaison librarians partner with faculty help them be successful in both their research and teaching. Liaison librarians have a breadth of experience to offer faculty, especially in research assignment design and research skill instruction. Every semester, liaison librarians connect with hundreds of students through teaching curriculum-integrated library instruction sessions for courses in any degree level.

Dr. Glenn West, Associate Professor in Residence in the Department of Educational & Clinical Studies attests, “I have been impressed with how integrated the library faculty and staff are with mainstream instructional design and every semester I rely on librarians to help orient students to do research since coming to UNLV three years ago.”

Always focused on the student learning experience, liaison librarians work side-by-side with faculty to fine-tune assignments, ensuring that students can demonstrate increasing levels of sophistication as they learn to use and manage information. Outcomes-based assignments embedded with library elements focused on developing information literacy skills yield transferable research skills that promote habits of lifelong learning.

Xan Goodman is Health and Life Sciences Librarian developing connections with the Schools of Life Sciences, Nursing, Allied Health, and Dental Medicine.  

In addition to teaching students in visiting classes, on any given day your liaison librarian can be found providing one-on-one research and technology assistance, creating online tools and user guides, partnering in developing course content, and participating in assessing student learning.

Liaison librarians at UNLV are “student centered and very active on campus. All of their active purposes are centered toward what is best for the students and how can we help them increase their academic success measures and increase student retention,” according to Dr. Dan Gianoutsos, Director of Academic Transitions at the Academic Success Center.

The benefits of partnering with a liaison librarian are realized by faculty in many different ways. For some, University Libraries Faculty Institutes for First and Second Year Seminars shed light on the depth of expertise the Libraries’ subject liaison librarians possess. After participating in a recent Institute, Dr. David Holland, Associate Professor in the Department of History, stated, “I had no idea how invested the librarians were in the process of course creation and the process of pedagogical theorizing. I had never quite made that link. I didn’t know how many resources and how much expertise there was at the Libraries in designing courses and improving learning outcomes.”

New faculty member, Dr. Jennifer Pharr, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, participated in a University Libraries Faculty Institute earlier this year and reflected, “As a PhD student, I interacted with my subject librarian, but I didn’t realize the depth and breadth that my subject librarian can offer in helping students and faculty. For students to learn how to find articles and do literature searches—and for faculty, if there is a video or technology that we want to incorporate into our class, liaison librarians really are a resource to help us integrate these into a class.”

Education Librarian Samantha Godbey works with the faculty and staff at the Curriculum Materials Library to provide research and instruction services to the College of Education.

All of UNLV Libraries’ liaison librarians are tenure-track or tenured faculty. They possess first-hand experience in successfully balancing the demands of their professional and teaching responsibilities, scholarship, and service to the profession and community. Your liaison librarian is your partner in research as they identify and acquire resources for the collection that enhance your scholarship and teaching. In many cases, your liaison librarian possesses a second master’s degree in their area of expertise.

Whether you already have met and collaborated with your subject liaison librarian or have only interacted via email, we hope you will continue to connect with your partner in research and education. In addition to their knowledge of information resources, your liaison has received extensive training in information literacy, classroom communication and assessment, and assignment development. Your liaison is an enthusiastic and creative supporter, who can help your students reach the goals you set for them.

For a complete list of our subject liaison librarians visit