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Possibly Impossible Idea

Walking in to work this morning, musing on staffing and service models for liaison librarians and fumbling for my keys with mitten-encased hands, I decided that our liaison model is doing just about precisely half of what it could do (time, money, and staffing aside). Currently, there is a liaison for each major on campus. Freshmen and Sophomores are encouraged to meet with the liaisons as well, but before they declare a major they may have to figure out new people for every class they take.

Now I’m not saying that it’s bad for students to go to the person most suited to answer their questions. Far from it. But I remember being too intimidated to figure out who the people were who could answer my basic questions when I was a pre-major, let alone re-figure for each class.

But what if each freshman were assigned a librarian at the same time that they’re assigned a faculty adviser. This librarian could be “their” librarian who could do anything from answer basic questions to directing them (and personally introducing them) to the liaison most suited to answer specific questions.

Here’s the major hitch in my plan: 500 freshmen… 7 librarians… Not a good ratio, especially if any of them still needed their personal library adviser by the time they got to sophomore year. We could end up with as many as 1000 students per librarian, plus our students who have already declared majors.

Of course, many students wouldn’t sit down with us more than once (and they’d only come that once if we required it). So it might not be that much more work. And it might be a nice way to personalize the library.

I just don’t know. It was an interesting thought, if nothing else.

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