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The subject specialist plays a critical role in the work of the University Library, serving both as an expert in the services and collections provided in support of teaching, learning, and research in designated disciplines, program areas, and interdisciplinary initiatives, and as a liaison between the Library and the faculty, staff, and students who make use of those services and collections. While the University Library has maintained subject specialist positions among its faculty for decades, the role of the subject specialist has become more complex in recent years in light of broader changes in the composition of the disciplines and in the conduct of teaching, learning, and research on campus. As Hahn (2009) wrote in the introduction to a special issue of Research Library Issues: “Many believe that liaison librarian functions are becoming more central to fulfilling the library’s mission in a digital age. While research libraries may agree on the importance of the position, how to reconfigure liaison work has become a topic of broad concern. Identifying emerging roles and determining how to develop corresponding liaison capabilities are common challenges.”
The charge of the Task Force on Subject Specialist Roles and Responsibilities is to prepare a document for use at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the preparation of position descriptions for subject specialists and the articulation of the subject specialist role in the design, delivery, and assessment of Library services.
To meet this charge, the Task Force on Subject Specialist Roles and Responsibilities will:
The final report is due to the Library Executive Committee by December 15th, 2011.
Membership should be limited to members of the Library faculty with experience as a subject specialist, and should include both tenured and untenured members of the Library faculty.
Greg Youngen (Chair)