Working with great collaborators has been rewarding and beneficial to my success as an academic librarian. Frequently, those collaborations have happened outside the library. I knew that I was on the right path when I saw a Tweet from academic librarian Kaetrena Davis-Kendrick about collaborating with people from other departments, divisions, etc. This inspired me to write about the topic of collaboration outside of the library. In this blog post, I will discuss ideas on how collaboration can happen with people outside the library.
As an academic librarian, I have the opportunity to support several departments. As a result, this has led to some opportunities for collaboration with other faculty members; for instance, I have been a part of research projects. These are some questions that you can consider to get you started with department collaborations.
- Who is doing research that interests you?
- Are you able to attend a department meeting to introduce or reintroduce yourself?
- Do you know who is willing to collaborate?
- What collaborations have happened in the past? Can these be recreated or expanded?
Student Organizations & Student Centers
There are so many student organizations that support and uplift academic students. I learned that trying to go to some of their events is helpful with understanding students’ priorities and needs. Also, this is a way to be immersed in the campus’s culture. Lastly, getting to know the boards of these organizations is helpful when you want to create a collaboration. This information is valuable, so the students already know who you are when you have an idea to have a collaborative event. Most universities and colleges have centers that focus on students’ academic success. Often there are already initiatives or programs that perfectly align with the library; for instance, it makes sense for the library to work with the writing center to be involved in creating citation materials. Therefore, this is an excellent opportunity for collaboration.
Depending on your university or college, there might be a governing faculty and/or staff structure in place that can make for an easy opportunity to be involved with other faculty and staff on campus. Also, there might be faculty and staff affinity groups that you can join. This is a way to get to know your colleagues across campus so you can understand their interests and passions. Lastly, this is a way to get support from others on campus for the library’s programming.
Collaborating with others outside of the library is an excellent opportunity to showcase your skills. In addition, it is a way to become a part of the campus culture, and it is also a way to go beyond and outside the physical library space to show the depth and knowledge of librarians.
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