The Liaison Librarian's Role in Supporting Diversity Initiatives: Developing a Black History Month Exhibit in a College of Nursing
Haberstroh, Amanda; Bridgers, Wendy
The liaison or subject librarian traditionally takes the role of content specialist without specific content area knowledge or expertise, beyond the familiarity often gleaned through searches related to the position. While traditional reference tasks certainly represent the bulk of librarian work within an academic institution, the liaison role demonstrates more complexity than the reference service might initially suggest. Partnerships within assigned departments or colleges afford an opportunity to develop lasting relationships of trust with faculty and administrators, ultimately creating a symbiosis of goodwill and assistance between the library and individual academic units (Brown, et al., 2017; Corrall, S., 2015). One such opportunity includes supporting efforts of diversity and inclusion within academic units. Colleges of Nursing, for instance, have expressed interest in bolstering diversity within their programs (Gates, 2018). The liaison librarian is uniquely positioned to facilitate these interests ultimately assisting the academic unit in meeting goals that are not necessarily curriculum-based. The Liaison Librarian (AH) to the College of Nursing (CON) participated on the planning subcommittee for Black History Month (within the Diversity Advisory Council) within the CON at East Carolina University (ECU) to plan an exhibit entitled "A Look Back at Trailblazers in African American Nursing." The exhibit highlighted the African American nurses who achieved personal and professional milestones within the CON. We conducted interviews and created a permanent collection of photographs and records of these milestones. AH designed exhibit posters to display within the CON throughout the month of February 2019 in celebration of Black History Month. WB arranged for the Dean of the CON to speak on this momentous occasion at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was attended by faculty and staff members of the CON, student nurses, library personnel, and members of the community. Initial feedback was positive; future exhibits with broadening scopes are planned.