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Moving From a Subject Specialist to Functional Model

Moving From a Subject Specialist to Functional Model

Presentation given at ALA Annual 2018 in New Orleans, LA, as part of the Digital Scholarship Section-sponsored panel "Bridging the Gap: Supporting Subject Liaisons to Become Ambassadors for Digital Scholarship in Academic Libraries."


Brianna Marshall

June 24, 2018


  1. Brianna Marshall Director of Research Services, UCR Library Moving from

    a Liaison to Functional Specialist Model A New Manager’s Perspective Brianna Marshall | @notsosternlib | #DigScholACRL
  2. Where We Started: The Liaison Model • 10 librarians total,

    split between two parallel public services departments in disciplinary libraries • Main responsibilities included reference desk shifts, introductory instruction, and collection development. Librarians’ relationships with departments varied. • Shrinking staff, with retirements and vacancies going unfilled, including department heads • Exciting new service areas identified by both librarians and administration--but limited capacity Brianna Marshall | @notsosternlib | #DigScholACRL
  3. Timeline • 2014: Administration identified need for two functional units,

    Teaching & Learning and Research Services, through strategic planning process • 2016-2017: Two directors hired • May-Sept. 2017: Active phase of reorganization • Sept. 25, 2017: New structure in place Brianna Marshall | @notsosternlib | #DigScholACRL
  4. Change Management Strategies • Create a timeline; hold your implementation

    team to it • Strive for transparency • Solicit feedback at all levels - but especially from those whose roles will be changing • Acknowledge the value of past work Recognize that change is difficult and that people will react in different ways. Be empathetic. Brianna Marshall | @notsosternlib | #DigScholACRL
  5. Image used courtesy of Flickr user 121433567@NO3 (CC BY NC

    ND) Managers: You Can’t Keep Everything!
  6. A New Vision for Research Services Image used courtesy of

    UC Irvine Digital Scholarship Services Brianna Marshall | @notsosternlib | #DigScholACRL
  7. Functional Specialist Roles at UCR • Data Librarian • Geospatial

    Information Librarian • Maker Services Librarian • Open Research Librarian • Scholarly Communication Librarian • Research Services Assistant Brianna Marshall | @notsosternlib | #DigScholACRL
  8. Department Initiatives & Opportunities • Conversation Project (Martin Tsang) •

    Strategic plans tied to functional areas • Participation in DLF eResearch Network Brianna Marshall | @notsosternlib | #DigScholACRL
  9. Learn More from Our Case Study* Published in ARL’s Research

    Library Issues, no. 294: • Week-by-week timeline of active phase of reorganization • How we gathered input from librarian colleagues • Lessons learned and future steps *Written in collaboration with UCR Library colleagues: • Ann Frenkel, Deputy University Librarian • Tiffany Moxham, Assistant University Librarian for Collection Development and Scholarly Communications Strategies • Dani Brecher Cook, Director of Teaching and Learning Brianna Marshall | @notsosternlib | #DigScholACRL