The Librarians in the USMA Library are investing new energy in a traditional role: that of the “Liaison Librarian.” Liaison Librarians create partnerships with faculty to build strong connections between the USMA Library and the various Academic Departments here at West Point. This is not a new idea; all the librarians at the USMA Library have traditionally had liaison assignments. However, our current efforts to build the liaison librarian program are more formal and focused than ever before. The liaison program matches a subject specialist with each academic department in an effort to better meet our cadets’ information needs relative to their academic assignments. How do we do this? By meeting with faculty to understand the research required for specific assignments, and then designing Research Guides, recommended reading lists, and instruction sessions targeted at subject-specific research skills. We work with faculty throughout the Academic year to offer assistance wherever (library or classroom) and whenever (lab periods, paper prep sessions) it best fits into the course. We also conduct evening clinics and daytime library information sessions to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all our patrons, on topics ranging from the general (using Scout for searching for Library resources) to the specific (the best resources for SS 307 papers).
Faculty members are encouraged to contact their Dept. Liaison Librarian to explore ways to incorporate library instruction in their classes. Cadets seeking help with a research paper should stop by the Reference desk and ask to see their department’s library liaison for help targeted specifically at the subject and assignment on which they are working. Patrons can also look up our liaison librarians on the Library website, and make an appointment via phone or email for research assistance at a mutually convenient time. Having a liaison librarian in your academic corner means having a personal information specialist who will be a force multiplier on your road to academic success!