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Subject Resources A-Z: Liaison Info

Liaison Information

Library Support for Learning and Teaching

Why you should talk to the library

Information Technology is transforming the way that data, information and knowledge is created, stored, managed and used. The Internet, wireless and mobile technology and the use of virtual learning environments like Blackboard, are all changing the landscape of information that is used to support student learning and staff/student research. It is hardly surprising that students, academics and support staff feel the pressures from information overload.

Liaison Services Team

At QM Library the Liaison Services Team are working in partnership with staff and students at QMU to ensure that you know about developments and new services in the library.

The Liaison Services Team is currently made up of three Liaison Librarians and an Acquisitions Library Services Supervisor. The team is headed by the Liaison Services Manager. This team works together to ensure equity of provision across all subject areas and designs programmes of teaching and training in order to keep staff and students up to date with new electronic services.

Role of the Liaison Librarians

Liaison Librarians act as a link between the Library and the academic work of the Schools. Each Subject Area has a designated Liaison Librarian who is the first point of contact with the library if you do not know the specific service or person that you require. They will guide you to appropriate help and services to meet your academic needs.

Improved Communication

The role of the Liaison Librarian is to build partnerships with the academic community. This is achieved by raising awareness of developments in Library services, facilities and resources available to support learning, teaching and research. The Liaison Services Manager plays a key role in reporting back to the Library Management Team what is required in terms of Library support for Schools, their programmes of study and changes or new developments within their portfolio which may impact on effective library provision.

Supporting course development and delivery

Each Liaison Librarian has responsibility for library support to a range of courses, schemes of work and modules offered within a school.

The library seeks close integration between what we do and what the schools want to provide. Library services can enhance learning, teaching and research but this will happen more effectively if Liaison Librarians are included in the work of the Schools, enabling them to work with, and listen to, the needs of staff and students.

Collection Management and Development

Each Liaison Librarian works closely with staff in their subject areas in order to ensure that there is a collection of resources, printed and electronic, available to support the curriculum. They can help in identifying appropriate resources, in a range of formats, and ensure that materials on reading lists are made available in the Library.

Liaison Librarians manage the budget to support their designated subject areas. They may also bid for extra funding from the Collection Development Fund. Their strong relationship with colleagues in the Schools allows them to argue for increased funding on the basis of new developments, major revisions to existing courses and limitations or deficiencies in stock.

Committee Membership

Liaison Librarians attend academic committees and boards and should also be included in Course Committee meetings. Early involvement of the Liaison Librarian in the development of new courses is highly recommended. This will ensure not only that the resources are in place for people studying on the course but also to provide advice on the best way of accessing relevant information such as linking straight through to relevant readings or a specific new database. This can offer the course developers some added value in their learning and teaching strategy. Information skills teaching will be relevant and make more sense to the students because it will have been planned within the course development and not bolted on as an afterthought. It may not be necessary to invite the Liaison Librarian to all of the meetings of the course development team but early involvement will reap positive results.

Information Literacy Development

The very rapid move to electronic information is designed to improve the effectiveness of access, ‘anytime, anywhere’, means that the library is constantly adding new resources to its collection. Liaison Librarians offer sessions for students on finding and using information. In order for this experience to be effective for the student, Liaison Librarians need to work closely with colleagues in the Schools. Through discussion, a collaborative approach to this skills teaching can be achieved and we can ensure that the delivery of these sessions occurs at a useful and relevant point in the students’ educational experience. The development and use of information skills is then contextualised and integrated. Only teaching staff can inform Liaison Librarians on the information needs of their students and help them to tailor the right teaching at the right time.

Typical teaching sessions could cover:

  • Using the library catalogue effectively
  • Literature searching skills
  • Using other libraries and other library catalogues for research
  • Searching electronic/print journals
  • Searching databases
  • Searching the internet using search engines; information gateways and subject portals
  • Evaluating internet sources
  • Referencing


Library Induction

All students new to QM receive a Library induction. This does not teach the students how to manage or search for information. It is a simple orientation exercise which aims to help them understand the very basics of the library service such as how to use the library catalogue.


What we can do for you

  • Support course development by ensuring the relevant resources are there for you and your students;
  • Buy specific resources to support your students’ learning (books, journals, training/educational DVDs, training manuals, databases, electronic materials etc.,);
  • Teach your students searching and researching skills;
  • Attend Course Committee meetings;
  • Keep you up to date with what is available to support your research and your students’ learning.

What you can do for us

  • Invite us to your meetings so that we know what you need. We can also tell you what is possible, for example using Resource Lists to deliver reading content.
  • Send us your resource/reading lists for your courses and modules;
  • Involve us in your students’ learning by inviting us to deliver sessions on information skills;
  • Come to our briefings and training sessions on new services and facilities