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Creating Partnerships Between Librarians And New Engineering Faculty Members

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade II

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.384.1 - 14.384.8

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Paper Authors


William Baer Georgia Institute of Technology

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William Baer is the Mechanical Engineering and Distance Learning Services Librarian at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Creating Partnerships between Librarians and New Engineering Faculty Members


Unlike engineering, librarianship is a humanistic discipline. Therefore it may be somewhat counterintuitive to think that partnerships between librarians and new engineering faculty members would be an efficient way of achieving the goals of both participants. Faculty members are required to publish in their area of research while effectively teaching classes. New faculty members find it especially challenging to meet these demands. It is common for academic librarians to be assigned as a liaison between the library and faculty. Librarians have a vested interest in seeing these faculty members succeed as researchers and teachers. They have the responsibility to see that the information needs of the faculty and students in their assigned subject areas are met. Meeting the information needs of faculty members enables them to successfully perform their research. Meeting the information needs of students can enhance their learning experience, which in turn can help create a more effective teaching environment.

This paper focuses on ways to build partnerships in both of these areas, meeting the information needs of faculty and students. Each partnership is different, but effective partnerships work toward helping both the faculty member and librarian achieve their goals. Identifying common ground is the starting point for building a synergistic relationship. Examples of effective partnerships will be presented from literature as well as the author’s personal experiences. The purpose of this paper is to encourage new engineering faculty and librarians to creatively seek out partnerships in order for each to become more effective.


New faculty members face several challenges, each requiring time and effort. Research projects and programs need to be developed. Grant proposals must be written. Graduate students need to be mentored as they are incorporated into research teams. Classes need to be taught. Assignments have to be developed, distributed, and graded. Tests must be given to assess learning. Of course, everything has deadlines which seem to come due long before they should. All the while they are trying to acclimate to the culture and politics of a new university.

In today’s society of limited budgets and outcomes-oriented assessment, universities are asked “to perform miracles by doing more with less, producing more and better research, and graduating highly employable individuals.”1 Faculty members are pressured to increase productivity, especially those who have yet to reach tenure. One thing that faculty do not need is additional drains on their time. Rather they need allies to help them accomplish all that is required of them.

This paper explores a not so obvious ally for faculty members, their subject librarian. Librarians have a vested interest in seeing faculty succeed. One of a subject librarian’s main

Baer, W. (2009, June), Creating Partnerships Between Librarians And New Engineering Faculty Members Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas.

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