Libraries Week 2019: Celebrating Liaison Librarians

Libraries Week takes place between 7th – 12th October 2019. This year’s campaign is focused on celebrating the role of libraries in the digital world. Over the course of the week we’ll be introducing you to different teams within the Library and explore how they use technology to support our community.

To round-off this year’s Libraries Week celebrations we’d like to highlight the work of our Library Liaison team and how they can help you connect with the right digital resources at the right time to grow your learning and, ultimately, improve your grades, practice or research.

Meet the team

For each of our distinct user groups – students, academic staff and researchers and NHS practitioners – you will find dedicated Library Liaison staff, available throughout the year to provide specialist help and support with the Library’s resources, in print as well as online.

Your Liaison Librarians for SGUL students, staff and researchers are:
Zena Ali
Beth Jackson

Your Liaison Librarians for Faculty of Health and Social Care students, staff and researchers are:
Anna El-Jouzi
Anne Binsfeld

Your Liaison Librarians for NHS staff, researchers and placements students are:
Karen John-Pierre
Stephen Reid

The team provides one-to-one support for staff and students and offers innovative, practical teaching sessions for all on a range of topics such as online literature searching for your assignments or evidence-based practice and managing your references.

How do we support our users?

Finding Information

For each course or trust clinical workforce group, Liaison Librarians have developed online Subject Guides curated by the relevant Librarian. These guides outline the key high quality digital resources (think literature search databases, websites, search engines and evidence-based tools) for your bespoke area and are a great launch pad to start your resource exploration.

Liaison Librarians also design and run curriculum-embedded and open information skills courses to help you use these digital tools efficiently and find the best available evidence. Users can also make an appointment to see one of the team or drop in to our Research Enquiries Desk for advice.

Evaluating Information

In this era of fake news and health scams, how do you know you can rely on the information you find online? Liaison Librarians can empower you with useful frameworks to help you be more discerning when looking for academic information for your assignment. Liaison Librarians also know about the best checklists to use to critically appraise the quality of scientific papers and we’re happy to share this knowledge with you during one of our training courses.

Managing Information

To keep information overload at bay and assist you in keeping track of your references, ask your liaison librarian about tools like RefWorks or Mendeley. These tools allow you to create personalised databases of references which can be integrated into Microsoft Word, saving you time when writing  up assignments or research manuscripts. They can also introduce you to Cite Them Right, the online bible for formatting citations for a whole host of material ranging from academic journal articles to tweets.

Get connected, get creative and learn new skills

If you want to brush up on your searching or referencing skills, there are plenty of opportunities to get face-to-face help from the Liaison team

Visit the Research Enquiries Desk (RED)
When? Monday to Friday 11am – 2pm (subject to change)
Where? Small, quiet study area towards the rear of the Library

Book on to our Information Skills workshops
See the Training pages of the website for course information and our booking form.

Book 1-2-1s or bespoke group training
By emailing

Library @ IMBE
Zena Ali runs office hours on the 6th floor of Hunter wing and the 2nd floor of Jenner wing. Upcoming dates include:

Thursday 7th November 1pm – 4pm
Tuesday 3rd December 1pm – 4pm

Thursday 17th Oct 1pm – 4pm
Tuesday 19th Nov 10am – 1pm
Thursday 19th Dec 1pm – 4pm

We hope you’ve find this brief introduction into the range of work and support our liaison team carry out informative and inspiring. To find out more, visit our new website  where you will find audience-focused pages that highlight what’s on offer for students, teaching staff, researchers and NHS staff, as well as contact details for your Liaison Librarian.

Day in the life of a Liaison Librarian

St George’s Library supports a diverse group of users, including  academic staff and student, including many opportunities for face-to-face help. Have you ever used our Research Enquiries Desk (located in the Quiet Study Area) or contacted your Liaison Librarian?

Your liaison librarian is available throughout the year to provide specialist help and support with the Library’s print and online resources.

  • One-to-one support for staff and students.
  • Information skills sessions: practical training for all on a range of information literacy skills.

The article below by Anna, gives you an idea of what Liaison Librarians get up to in a day.


A day in the life of a liaison librarian


My day starts with checking my voicemail and email for new messages, and the intention to respond to anything urgent.  As I am running a scheduled session on advanced literature searching for dissertations, for an undergraduate course at 9.30, I won’t have time to respond to anything else immediately.  No voicemail, which is common since people seem to prefer to send emails.  Among the general SGUL emails and messages from colleagues, there is a query about offsite access to a particular journal, a request for us to run a training session for a particular course, and various emails from mailing lists containing potentially useful information.  I make a note to read most of them properly later.

After checking the named journal in the email about offsite access, I discover that I too cannot access it, so I forward the message to our journals librarian with a request that she contact the publisher to alert them and ask for our access to be reinstated. I also email the person concerned apologising and informing them of situation, stating that the journals librarian will contact them when access is restored.  I also check my diary to see if I, or a suitable colleague, are free to run the training session that has been requested.  One of us is available, so I will make the appropriate arrangements later, because it is time to make a last minute check of the materials for my teaching session, and make my way over to the training room.


My session starts promptly (not always the case) and seems to go smoothly.  It has been timetabled to coincide with the students firming up their dissertation titles, and part of this process is conducting an extensive literature search.  This means that the students are engaged with the session and asking appropriate questions.  Talking to academic staff about the most appropriate time to schedule library training in the students’ curriculum has paid dividends.  I finish a couple of minutes early which always pleases people!


RED Orange Zone

I spend an hour covering our Research Enquiries Desk – commonly known (to us anyway) as the RED.  This timeslot is often reasonably quiet – the busiest times are 12-2 at lunchtime, which is to be expected.  This means that I am able to make the arrangements for the training course requested via email this morning, and read some of my other emails.  A student comes to the RED with a referencing query, and I show another student our Hunter search system, which allows our users to search all of our subscription electronic journal articles, and access the full text of them.  We discuss their search topic and they leave with a few potentially useful articles for their work, which has a looming deadline.

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