I had been planning to read this article on analogies for liaison roles since it came out so was pleased it was selected for my work journal club
BEYOND SAINTS, SPIES AND SALESPEOPLE: NEW ANALOGIES FOR LIBRARY LIAISON PROGRAMMES – Peter Barr and Anthea Tucker – In the Library with the Lead Pipe 19 Sep 2018
Working in a functionally aligned service it is always interesting to see how others experiences tally with ours. Locally we have also done a great deal of work around things like Customer Service Excellence so debates around the language of the market in HE are ones we have thought about a fair bit (to the point where I spoke at an event we organised on the student as customer). We had common experiences with the authors about needing to explain a new role within a functional model and the difficulty other departments could have in understanding this. Looking at the website for their service it seems they retained some aspects of the traditional subject liaison role that I am not sure this was significant. In contrast to the authors experience we did not experience a drawing away from the other functional teams. While it has not always been easy there has been concerted work to bring teams closer together with part of the role locally specifically focussed on liaison internal to the service.
The article considers a range of analogies that have been used to help explain the role of liaison staff and suggests some other possibilities. It was interesting to see how comfortable people were with these or not and we considered a few alternatives (the fixer perhaps). I liked the idea of selling being not just about commercial imperatives but also “to convince of the worth of” this tallies with the strong thrust around impact and advocacy in NHS libraries. There was a somewhat adversarial position taken that viewed sales as purely negative when there is scope for us to work with suppliers in more positive ways – they have things we want to buy and an interest in developing the use of resources (I recognise not all relationships will be positive).
I was glad the article came down ultimately to building and presenting our professional identity as librarians. We can learn a great deal from the way other people go about their work but we should be strong in our own professional base.
Welcome to the second experimental online reading group aimed at encouraging discussion of interesting articles in HILJ. The first attempt took place around Volume 35 No 2 on CILIP Social Link (link may require CILIP login and may not take you to the right place). Unfortunately we found SocialLink did not really offer quite what was needed so future editions will rove across any ones blog that cares to host.
I raised the possibility of having a regular discussion on articles from HILJ at HLG2018 having muttered about it for some time and as others expressed an interest (in particular Lisa Burscheidt, Morag Clarkson, Catherine Mclaren and Tom Roper) here we are.
As an HLG Member you should have access to HILJ via the link below https://archive.cilip.org.uk/health-libraries-group/health-information-libraries-journal/access-health-information-libraries-journal-hilj though many have it in a Wiley bundle and that maybe easier! The article this time is OpenAccess anyway so should be straightforward.
The idea is that an article will be selected from each issue to be discussed. The group have picked an article but there might be a vote in future or we may carry on picking a favourite by some other means (perhaps the host blogger gets to choose). The intention is to select articles with practical applications. We will offer some questions as prompts but the discussion can go where interest takes it.
The article selected this time is:
Developing a generic tool to routinely measure the impact of health libraries
Stephen Ayre, Alison Brettle, Dominic Gilroy, Douglas Knock, Rebecca Mitchelmore, Sophie Pattison, Susan Smith, Jenny Turner
Pages: 227-245 | First Published: 18 July 2018
Health libraries contribute to many activities of a health care organisation. Impact assessment needs to capture that range of contributions.
To develop and pilot a generic impact questionnaire that: (1) could be used routinely across all English NHS libraries; (2) built on previous impact surveys; and (3) was reliable and robust.
This collaborative project involved: (1) literature search; (2) analysis of current best practice and baseline survey of use of current tools and requirements; (3) drafting and piloting the questionnaire; and (4) analysis of the results, revision and plans for roll out.
The framework selected was the International Standard Methods And Procedures For Assessing The Impact Of Libraries (ISO 16439). The baseline survey (n = 136 library managers) showed that existing tools were not used, and impact assessment was variable. The generic questionnaire developed used a Critical Incident Technique. Analysis of the findings (n = 214 health staff and students), plus comparisons with previous impact studies indicated that the questionnaire should capture the impact for all types of health libraries.
The collaborative project successfully piloted a generic impact questionnaire that, subject to further validation, should apply to many types of health library and information services.
I picked this article as this has been a hot topic for some time now. I expect many of us will have experience and views on the generic impact questionnaire so there should be useful discussion. I have not read the article before selecting it!
Starter Questions –
What? What do you think of this article / the generic impact questionnaire / etc?
So what? Does this change your view of the tool? What changes might we want to see with the tool?
Now what? Are you going to do anything with it?
The next edition of the HILJ CPD Reading experiment (name suggestions welcome! #HILJClub perhaps?) will appear when volume 35 no 4 appears and be hosted by Lisa Burscheidt over at That Black Book.
Look forward to the discussion! The comments box is further down in this template than I realised so do scroll down to reach it!
A change of tack at the team Journal Club with a paper on impact assessment
Christine Urquhart, (2018) “Principles and practice in impact assessment for academic libraries”, Information and Learning Science, Vol. 119 Issue: 1/2, pp.121-134, https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-06-2017-0053
It was a different paper in that it was a literature review so was rather more general than some of the articles we have been using.
We found the idea of reciprocal value propositions worth exploring. What happens when these go wrong? There is a danger in both sides being willing but not always able to deliver on what they might wish for. Opportunities for using value co-creation could also be imagined. The idea of student reviews on the value of particular reading list choices could potentially lead to some tricky conversations but would only be providing a formal recognition of discussions that already take place amongst the students.
In many areas the literature points to the importance of strategic alignment with our organisations wider goals. This is not revolutionary but worth trying to do well.
Discussion on the time involved in qualitative data work along with more generally on gathering and managing feedback should help us in future to more carefully frame what we are trying to achieve. GDPR should also drive care over data collection and retention. Just because data might be available does not mean it is practically or ethically desirable to use it.
I found the referenced paper Mengel, E. and Lewis, V. (2012), “Collaborative assessment”, Library Management, Vol. 33 Nos 6/7, pp. 357–364. [Link] on developing a set of measures for a balanced score card particularly interesting given the difficulty of this task and passed it to relevant colleagues.
Overall we found a lot to discuss in the paper but I am not sure it worked as well as some of the research papers we have used previously. Too often we were left with too little information without going on to read the underlying papers.
A new round of our team journal club. This time some reading looking at different models for delivering liaison in academic libraries.
As ever I found myself wanting to read more research on the effectiveness and impact of the different models.
After something of a gap it was good to have a return of the Journal Club at work. The article this time was
The Impact of Physically Embedded Librarianship on Academic Departments – , , 2016 Portal: Libraries and the Academy
This was interesting for the team as a way to consider how librarians might best approach closer working with faculties and in particular whether physical collocation is important.
The article examines the impact of a shift to three liaisons being based more with their faculty following changes to the delivery of enquiry services within the library.
There is a big emphasis on counting different routes to interactions. The picture from these figures is unconvincing. There are a number of variables that can be controlled for. There is little consideration of any change in the type, quality or depth of the enquiries. This would be more useful to know – a fall in enquiries could be a positive thing if more useful enquiries are replacing them.
Given the focus on quantitative data it was also disappointing to not have any examination of data around their use of Libguides.
Generally the study would have been more interesting by including qualitative elements. There is a brief mention of chats with faculty and it would be these interactions that are interesting.
So a helpful paper from prompting discussion but not one where you can draw much that is transferable.
My team journal club discussed the following paper this week
Strategic engagement: New models of relationship management for academic librarians
Jeanette Eldridge , Katie Fraser , Tony Simmonds , Neil Smyth . (2016) New Review of Academic Librarianship.
Very much hot off the press having been published earlier this month!
We had a highly productive discussion reflecting the paper echoing our own ongoing work on development of new models around liaison and engagement. I found the concept of “bridging conversations” helpful as an alternative way to present what I have always thought of as the translation service I operate between HE and the NHS. The focus on senior academics and professional services colleagues was greater than in our approach and we were left wondering who does carry out the liaison that is no longer covered by the team in the article?
It would be good to have seen more robust research around the extent of engagement roles in Russell Group (and beyond) institutions. Investigation focused on information from websites when a conversation might have been both more straightforward and useful. We do not use engagement as a term in either our team name or job titles so may have slipped through the net.
The importance of resolving ambiguities within the library about the new model chimed and prompted discussion of how we might need to continue this work locally. Also interesting was that the model appeared to have been compromised by the subject related needs of some disciplines. I am very aware of some of the tensions around this in health with specialist knowledge around systematic review valued by those we work with.
There would be definite value in meeting with the team at University of Nottingham to share experience.
We had the latest round of our team journal club last week. The paper this time was
Bettina Peacemaker & Jill Stover Heinze (2015) Moving Users, Moving
Results: Exploring Customer Engagement for Deeper Relationships, College & Undergraduate
Libraries, 22:3-4, 261-272, DOI: 10.1080/10691316.2015.1081084
This proved to be a great discussion starter. It examines the research around customer engagement in the business literature and places this in the context of seeking to increase engagement in the academic library environment.
While the language is firmly in the “customer” model it was easy to look beyond this to the arguments being advanced about collaboration and engagement. The model in libraries has frequently been one of “Here is the beautiful service that (as experts) we have designed for you – enjoy” followed by disappointment at uptake. We have increased our openness to feedback for the things we provide in this way we have not always moved far from this model. Business process management models can also drive us towards there being a right way for something to be done to match our work flows. Are these approaches going to drive engagement and partnership?
I was interested in the idea that the experiences people have with us drive emotion that in turn fuels engagement. Our libraries can be places of very big highs and lows – there are days where people will feel we have saved their life or ruined it. Powerful things happen around us!
We explored how we might better work with the information we have about users and non users to better communicate with them. I heard about an interesting example in public libraries lately where they wrote to all the people who had not visibly used the service for a year saying “we miss you” and it drove a big return of uptake from the targeted group. There is also the question of how much time we spend working with those who are already engaged versus those who are not. Generally we need to do more with the information we already gather from activity and feedback.
A big theme of the paper is the need to cocreate services and to engage people with a view to addressing their problems rather than focussing on our own agenda. Reading lists is a live topic at present and was highly illustrative of the potential for a different approach that might takes us forward faster in the end.
Our latest team journal club considered “The promise of academic libraries: turning outward to transform campus libraries” by Kranich, Lotts and Springs.
I picked this paper as it looks at how someone has been seeking to develop their liaison model through community engagement. The team involved have clearly been exploring in a period of change and in some ways this paper felt like them reaffirming publicly some of the results.
We were very interested in the way they piggy backed on groups set up for other projects to have “community conversations”. These gave space for senior staff of the institution to get together to talk about a wide range of questions across the scope of the institution. While the links to library drivers were interesting it was the whole picture of the objectives and issues in play for the institution that was most useful. The fruits of these discussions were then fed back to the library teams to give them a much stronger picture of the priorities and direction of travel of the university. Similar conversation sessions were also held with library teams building internal understanding of work in progress and direction of travel. Use was made of the ideas from the Harwood Institute and these look helpful as a framework.
Areas around impact were weaker. Some of the measures proposed sound very hard to assess with any accuracy.
Generally it was a positive paper as a statement of intent and helped drive a good discussion.
The latest paper discussed in our team journal club took a bit of a kicking.
The Library Student Liaison Program at Eastern Washington University: A Model for Student Engagement
This paper covers a project where a student was paid to become a student liaison working directly for the Library. They worked 15 to 19 hours a week during term time reporting directly to a fairly senior member of Library staff. They were set three main goals – enhance communication with the student body, articulate student perspectives / determine priorities to meet student needs and increase student participation in library programmes.
In common with the paper about the Library street teams (discussed last time) the paper tells us about what they did but falls down on the evaluation. There are few attempts to address how the programme will be evaluated and where figures are provided they are frequently partial. For example we have no context to claims of an improvement in the affect score on Libqual+. Changes to enquiry levels are discussed but without absolute figures.
In critical appraisal terms it falls at the first hurdle with a focussed research question lacking. Like much LIS research we get a case study approach. Applicability of the model proposed is quite limited locally with a very different institution involved and large sums of money required (at least $5K in pay for student at 2006 prices). The commitment of staff time to managing the role was also substantial.
On the positive side we can see many of the initiatives that were proposed or introduced correspond to work we have in place or under consideration / development. It also prompted lots of discussion of various paths for student engagement and ways to gain the student perspective.
So not a paper to change our practice but plenty to stimulate debate (and a nice blast from the past with them proudly reporting making 192 friends on MySpace).