Search back issues of the HSLS Update for “liaison” and you will find many articles that report on liaison librarians’ activities and listing the services they provide. Liaisons either serve a health sciences school, or they concentrate on meeting an important information need such as scholarly communications or molecular biology bioinformatics that cuts across schools. The opportunity to combine librarianship with deep subject knowledge and to participate in long term collaborative projects with faculty, staff, and students makes liaison librarianship a rewarding career choice. A good liaison enjoys teaching information skills and the intellectual challenge of providing advanced information services such as systematic review searching.
At the end of April, Barbara Folb will retire, and Helena VonVille will be the liaison to the Graduate School of Public Health. Barbara was the first liaison to the school to hold an MPH in addition to a library degree. She established a strong systematic review search support service for the school, and promoted the informationist model of liaison librarianship, maintaining an office in the school, and participating in collaborative projects with the faculty as well as teaching and consultation.
Helena, who also holds MPH and MLS degrees, will continue the established services, and will be adding a new service: support of research publication and grant writing success through use of reporting guidelines and study execution standards. Funded by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine South Central Region (NNLM-SCR) she attended the EQUATOR Network Publication School in Oxford, England, in June 2017. The class promotes the use of reporting guidelines tailored to a research method for planning, executing, and reporting research accurately and transparently.
One of the most important goals of any liaison is to prepare students to be savvy users of information. An effective method for doing that is to integrate information instruction into curricular classes. When a class requires students to write a paper, propose a research project, or produce any product founded on high-quality information, that class is an opportunity for students to learn good information seeking, assessment, and management skills at a time when they need those skills to succeed in the class. Liaisons also provide consultations on request to students who are developing a master’s essay or PhD dissertation. In addition, they are happy to provide instruction in other settings such as journal clubs—feel free to contact your liaison librarian to discuss training opportunities.