Advice for the New Systems Librarian – Building Relationships, Part 2
I am at the two-year mark of being in my role as systems librarian at Jacksonville University, and I continue to love what I do. I am working on larger-scale projects and continuing to learn new things every week. There has not been a challenge or new skill to learn yet that I have been afraid of.
My first post in this series highlighted groups and departments that may be helpful in learning your new role. Now that I’m a little more seasoned, I have had the opportunity to work with even more departments and individuals at my institution on various projects. Some of these departments may be unique to me, but I would imagine you would find counterparts where you work.
The Academic Technology (AT) department. This department is responsible for classroom technology, online and hybrid course software, and generally any technology that enhances student learning. In the last year, I have worked with AT on finding and working with a vendor for new technology for OPAC access and developing a digital media lab within the library. I have worked with almost every individual in this department at this writing. Many of them have technology experience that surpasses mine, so I soak up all that I can when there is an opportunity to learn from them. So far, my friends in AT have taught me more about accessibility, various hardware, and technology installation.
Faculty. I work with faculty in my role as a subject liaison and to teach information literacy classes, but I have recently worked with faculty on setting up specific databases. A recent database-linking project required participation from the library and IT for different access points. The faculty member had not worked on such a project before, so it was an excellent chance to flex my growing systems muscle to explain the library’s role in the process. I also work with faculty on linking electronic resources from our catalog in Blackboard and Canva. These activities are excellent ways to not only build relationships with faculty, but also communicate the variety of resources available to faculty.
Center for Teaching and Learning. Speaking of faculty and communication, get to know your institution’s hub for faculty teaching and learning. Our Center for Teaching and Learning hosts workshops and lectures for new and seasoned faculty. Developing a relationship with this department affords the opportunity to grow faculty knowledge about library technology and what it can do for them and their students. I am in the planning stages of developing a workshop to show faculty how to use the digital media lab mentioned above. For new faculty, find out if there is a new faculty orientation and see if you can present about the library’s website, electronic resources, or anything that may fall under your realm of responsibilities. For me, I am more behind-the-scenes than I used to be in my previous position, so it is nice to be visible and let people meet the person behind the name that may pop up in their e-mail.
The marketing department (again). I’m repeating my mention of the marketing department because of social media. I manage my library’s social media presence, and my institution’s marketing department has been an asset when it comes to social media. Find out if there are social media trainings to enhance your knowledge of social media platforms. Are you using the right platforms to reach your audience? Are there specific hashtags you should be using? Make sure you know your institution’s brand and that you are developing content that aligns with the brand.
I remain a department of one in my library, but it continues to take a village to accomplish all the things.
What other departments are important to supporting the needs of a library’s systems department?