Academic law libraries typically offer many services to the faculty. Many law libraries have a dedicated Faculty Services Librarian and others rely on a faculty-liaison program.
It can be as challenging to reach faculty members as it is to reach students. They have demanding schedules and plenty of obligations. One service my library provides has been particularly well-received: the Faculty Research Series, a series of monthly 15-minute sessions of information especially pertinent to faculty (with coffee and pastries included!). This year, the sessions have included:
- An overview of the Faculty Services LibGuide;
- Publishing information;
- Lexis Advance;
- Using SSRN & our institutional repository to promote publications;
- Current awareness alerts;
- Classroom technology;
- Bluebook citation management tools;
- Evernote and OneNote;
- The Cloud;
- BloombergLaw and PACER dockets;
- TurningPoint software and response card clickers from Turning Technologies.
While it can be difficult to provide effective instruction in a 15-minute session, one of the main goals of the sessions is to make the faculty aware that this information is available. The faculty research sessions often lead to one-on-one trainings for the faculty who want more information.
Beyond these sessions, a dedicated Faculty Services Librarian or liaison can meet the needs of the faculty by performing a wide-variety of support, including:
- In-depth research (including empirical);
- Setting up passwords;
- Uploading and disseminating scholarship through SSRN and the institutional repository;
- Facilitating course management systems;
- Promoting scholarship through social media;
- Curriculum support such as specialized research guides or classroom instruction;
- ExpressO management;
- Copyright clearance;
- Course reserves;
- Routing materials.
Most law libraries are doing a great job of providing these types of services.
Providing the services is only half of the battle, so to speak. The other half is to make sure that your library can sufficiently track requests. One way to track requests is through an internal database. My library has created a SharePoint database that allows a faculty member to easily request a service. In the database, there is a dropdown menu that provides the types of services offered as well as a place to enter the request and a due date.
Once the faculty submits the request, an email is generated to a librarian notifying the librarian of the request. The librarian can then communicate with the faculty member for more information. The librarian can use the SharePoint database to insert comments about the request and close the request once it is completed. On the back end, the librarians can also track all completed and in-progress requests.
With the high level of scholarly output from faculty and a large number of requests, tracking requests is paramount for successful service. I’d love to hear more about faculty services from other libraries and how your library tracks requests.