Subject librarians (sometimes called specialist librarians or academic liaison librarians or bibliographers in US-English) are librarians who are in charge a particular academic topic in a library, like maths or linguistics. Subject librarians usually work in academic libraries and special libraries (like legal libraries or medical libraries), but are sometimes large non-academic libraries like a national or state library. In academic libraries, they work with the teachers who teach the topic they manage to make sure the library has good books for the topic, including books teachers tell the students to read.
Subject librarianship started in the 1960s, when schools and universities began to spend more money on their libraries.
Education[change | change source]
Subject librarians need both academic knowledge of their special subject and skills in library science.
In Australia, most subject librarians have an undergraduate degree in their special subject and more education in an library sciences course, like a Master of Information Management.
Responsibilities[change | change source]
Subject librarians usually not work at the enquiry desk, but they sometimes answer questions online that library users ask about the librarians special topic.
Collection management and development[change | change source]
Having knowledge in a special topic gives a subject librarian extra skills that a general librarian might not have. They can know what resources are best for students and researchers. Subject librarians manage the collection of their special topic, which can include getting new materials labelling and sorting subtopics weeding (getting rid of) out-of-date or unused resources.
Liaison with academic staff[change | change source]
Subject librarians are sometimes called "academic liaison librarian" because they liaison (communicate) with proffesors and teachers. This can include:
- Choosing required/recommended course readings based on what the library already has in stock
- Deciding if a resource is worth adding to the library
- Providing online resources
- Encouraging professors to tell students about the library
- Help students and researchers find resources on a topic
Education[change | change source]
Having knowledge about their special topic and what information students can find in the library means subject librarians can be helpful to create classes and course plans in a university or school.
References[change | change source]
- Brewrton, Anthony (2011). "'… and any other duties deemed necessary:' an analysis of subject librarian job descriptions" (PDF). University of Warwick institutional repository – via University of Warwick institutional repositor.
- Pinfield, Stephen (2001). "The changing role of subject librarians in academic libraries". Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. 33 (1): 32–38. doi:10.1177/096100060103300104. ISSN 0961-0006.
- Gaston, Richard (2001-01-01). "The changing role of the subject librarian, with a particular focus on UK developments, examined through a review of the literature". New Review of Academic Librarianship. 7 (1): 19–36. doi:10.1080/13614530109516819. ISSN 1361-4533.
- Gibbs, Beth Liebman (1993). "Subject Specialization in the Scientific Special Library". Special Libraries. 84 (1): 1–8. ISSN 0038-6723.
- Lembo, Mary Frances; Hallmark, Julie (2003-01-01). "Leaving Science for LIS". istl.org. Retrieved 2023-09-06.
- "How to become a Librarian". www.gooduniversitiesguide.com.au. Retrieved 2023-09-06.
- Blewett, Daniel K. "The librarian is in". College & Research Libraries News.
- SBIRES (2016-07-21). "Academic Libraries". Education & Careers. Retrieved 2023-09-06.