Liaison work is a secondary role for most of the librarians at the William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University, and although each librarian takes this responsibility seriously, the task of ordering books is often one that gets put off throughout the busy Fall semester. Although the library's approval plan keeps current materials across all subject areas coming in a relatively steady stream throughout the year, over 50% of our books still come in through title-by-title liaison selection. Liaison procrastination historically resulted in a deluge of book orders - often triggered by increasingly insistent reminders from the acquisitions and collection development team – at the end of the fiscal year.
In FY2016, the Collection Development Librarian undertook an effort to use visual data related to historical and current ordering patterns to engage liaisons with selection activities throughout the entire academic year, with the hope of both evening out the number of books across disciplines that come in the library month-to-month, and to open up the annual March bottleneck caused in acquisitions, collection development, cataloging, and collection management by liaisons expending their funds at the last minute.
Attendees engaging with this poster at the Library Assessment Conference learned about the tools used to educate and inform liaisons about the often "invisible" work that takes place after they place an order, the system of intermediate deadlines established and data-sharing with liaisons, and the results of this effort across three calendar years. They left with ideas about how to connect liaisons at their own institutions with the often invisible work of acquisitions through training, communication, and compelling data-sharing.
Hazlitt, J. (2016, December). We’re All In This Together. Using Systems Thinking and Data Visualization to Influence the Ordering Habits of Liaisons. Poster presented at Library Assessment Conference, Houston, TX.
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