Full-Length Paper

Translating Liaison Librarians to the Scientific Community

  • Jessica Atkins (The University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
  • Kelsey Badger orcid logo (The University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
  • Claire Jordan (The University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
  • Hannah G Nelsen (The University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
  • Katerina Ozment (The University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
  • Olivia Young (The University of Tennessee, Knoxville)


Objective: This study explores the root causes that undermine successful collaborations between scientists and their library liaisons to improve outreach to this population.

Methods: This paper uses the Five Whys Technique to explore the reasons why many scientists are unaware of the breadth of services offered by liaison librarians. Existing outreach strategies that address these obstacles are interpreted through the lens of implementation science theories and process models, including Normalization Process Theory.

Results: A total of four recommendations—two for liaison librarians and two for libraries as institutions—are provided to enhance the perceived value of liaison services. The recommendations for individuals include aiming to understand scientists’ needs more comprehensively and actively increasing the visibility of services that respond to those needs. Those for libraries focus on cross-functional teams and new forms of assessment.

Conclusions: These recommendations emphasize the benefits of collaboration to liaisons, to library programs at large, and to the faculty that liaisons serve. Implementation science can help librarians to understand why certain outreach strategies bring success, and how new services can be implemented more effectively.

Keywords: liaison librarians, science librarians, implementation science, translational research, normalization, library outreach

How to Cite:

Atkins, J., Badger, K., Jordan, C., Nelsen, H. G., Ozment, K. & Young, O., (2022) “Translating Liaison Librarians to the Scientific Community”, Journal of eScience Librarianship 11(1): 5. doi: https://doi.org/10.7191/jeslib.2022.1229

Rights: Copyright © 2022 Atkins et al. This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Download PDF



Published on
08 Mar 2022