On Subject Librarianship

So in the beginning there were liaisons. Then, were were subject librarians. The change was good. In general, I am not in favor of not hiding but the word “library” when promoting services of the library. In academia, I am fortunate to work with some people who might not know what a librarian does, but appreciate the efforts of librarians when they encounter them.

Common comments: Yes, we have a masters (or two) | Yes, we present and publish |No, we didn’t come to your other class, because we can’t just show up without being removed by campus security but glad you liked it! (Actually i am not sure about this one and now I am wondering if any one has tried.)

In the variations of my position at UNT,  I have filled in for many subjects upon request for varying amounts of time such as: Philosophy & Religion, Communication Studies, Rehab, Social Work and Addictions (Later department of Disability and Addiction Rehabilitation). Yet, from beginning …there was and is Sociology.

The very first instruction request I taught for Sociology was alongside my predecessor Monika, who kindly let me tag along before I officially took over. That class was a PhD course for Dr. Rudy Ray Seward. Despite being a librarian in my 20s (strange enough in 2007), I was welcomed and went on to teach many other library instruction sessions from intro classes to research methods for him. What a happy surprise to find collegiality and collaboration amongst two separate but similar groups in academic world.

The first library instruction session is a sort of audition even if there is a method to the madness through guidelines and library course guides. When invited to any of the professor’s classes, I am privileged to be part of the class and see their good work. I have had similar collaborative moments working with a talented professor, library instruction advocate and honor society adviser, Dr. Michael Thompson.  Over the years, I have worked with other dedicated professors on research requests, collection development, subject guides, and navigating whatever changes may come.

I am fortunate that the current department chair, Dr. Rodeheaver, has been supportive enough to have me present at faculty meetings and PhD orientations, promote my Librarian On Location activities in Chilton, and answer questions. With subject librarianship, the efforts must be on-going, which is why it should be valued in and out of the library. Every year there are new students (some to the university, some to the major) and potentially new professors, teaching fellows and adjuncts to try to reach.

Thank you to all the professors, who give a subject librarian a shot…even a “one-shot”;)


With Dr. Seward (in his retirement party shirt!)
(used with permission) 


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