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.

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A day in the life of a liaison librarian

9am

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.

9.30am-11am

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!

11-12pm

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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