Staying connected with busy faculty can be challenging — especially as institutions work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Karin Heffernan is Associate Professor/Research & Learning Librarian at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and she makes it her mission to connect closely with psychology faculty to provide the psychology-related tools needed for their classes.

On June 30, Karin Heffernan joined Marta Soto, MLIS, Training & Support Specialist, from the American Psychological Association (APA), and Jaime K. Barrilleaux, MA, MLIS, eLearning Engagement Manager, U.S. & Canada, EBSCO Information Services, for the Library Journal webinar, Reaching Out: Engaging with Psychology Faculty.

Four Effective Techniques for Reaching Out to Faculty

The library provides an important service for psychology programs and Heffernan doesn’t wait for faculty to come to her when they need materials. She makes a point of understanding their learning goals, resource needs and pain points and proactively reaches out throughout the year.

Heffernan says, “For me personally, the core of liaisonship with psychology faculty is building relationships.” She attends department meetings, strikes up conversations at social events, stops by during office hours (whether in-person or virtual) and looks at course syllabi. Heffernan shares relevant content she finds, whether it’s a movie suggestion for an Intro to Psychology assignment or an invitation to a vendor webinar. Adjuncts are important, and growing more so as college budgets shrink, so Heffernan’s advice is to consider their needs and cultivate relationships with them as well.

The four aspects of building relationships sound simple but take time and attention:
  1. Leave the library — go to them
  2. Communicate regularly
  3. Be on the “lookout” for all types of resources
  4. Ask questions and listen

For the socially nervous, Heffernan recommends questions like “How are things going in your classes?” or “What resources or information do you wish you had?” to break the ice with faculty.

For me personally, the core of liaisonship with psychology faculty is building relationships.

Asking questions is important, but it’s even more important to follow up. Regular, thoughtful communication builds trust and that trust leads to more questions from faculty and two-way, ongoing dialog.

Resources from the APA

Marta Soto shared resources that librarians can refer to as they reach out to faculty:
  1. Quick Reference Guides
  2. Webinars
  3. Blog Posts
  4. Video Tutorials
  5. Search Alerts – My EBSCOhost
  6. Search Help & Training Center

eLearning Initiatives from EBSCO

Jaime Barrilleaux introduced a customer training lifecycle video series for the APA databases that is coming soon and will cover searching, marketing and optimizing databases. EBSCO Academy is a centralized learning portal with self-paced courses that will be launching in the fall of 2020.  

Engaging with Psychology Faculty

Hear more resources and recommendations for reaching out to psychology faculty at your institution.