How Cooperative Should We be?

by Jing Liu ~ September 25th, 2007. Filed under: Experience.

Faculty liaison is one of my current job responsibilities. I have been trying to reach out to the faculties here and one of my ‘strategies’ is to make them aware of my availability. “Please feel free to let me know if there is anything that I can do to help you with your teaching and research” — that’s what I keep telling them. Well, it looked like that I got what I asked for…some of them did take my words literally and ask me to do ‘ANYTHING’, like the other day, one faculty asked me to “come to see me to finalize the program’ (a library instruction session for his class). He didn’t tell me when and where, and when I emailed back asking what time, he didn’t bother to reply. I emailed him again a couple of days later but still haven’t got anything from him yet…Today I got another request from another faculty with whom I have been helping to search resources for her research. She told me she would like to be on a popular talk show and asked me to contact the talk show host about a possible program featuring her story…I was speechless when reading the email request. I was thinking “Am I losing the minimum respect from others if I keep behaving like this — a forever smiling, easygoing, friendly and helpful librarian?”
I am wondering whether any of you could share your experience working with faculty(or in the case of special library, colleagues in other departments)? I hope I could find some answers from your experience to the question I put in the title…Thanks.

8 Responses to How Cooperative Should We be?

  1.   Linda

    Some of us are in this profession because we love to help others. However, if we do every menial jobs asked of us, we are demeaning ourselves and we are doing our profession a disservice.

    One of my former Managers taught us to say to someone
    who often asked us to make photocopies or to deliver a
    mail to say, “I am in the middle of an important
    research for xxx on deadline. Could you send me your Secretary (or Administrative Assistant) down to the Research Centre? I will show her how to do it.”

    Maybe you could ask the Professor to send her Research Assistant to you, “I am busy preparing a class for xxx in two days. I will teach your RA how to get this done.”

  2.   Lei

    “When I first started in politics, I wanted to please everyone, and you can’t please everyone and you learn that the best thing is to do what you think is right and everyone can make their judgment.”
    – Tony Blair, December 19, 2006

  3.   Mindy

    Lei, I love the quote and I shall remember it next time when I ‘want to please everyone’, thank you for sharing the quote!
    Linda, what a great suggestion! By the way, I did get back to the faculty and sent her the link to the webpage where she could post her program idea to the talk show host — it’s something that I believed I could (and should) do as a librarian — pointing where the resources are.

  4.   Jing

    I learned something from Mindy’s post, and thanks to Linda and Lei’s comments. This sort of strategy examination is very important to us.

  5.   Henry

    I have used what you’ve posted for training of my staff. Thank you all very much.

  6.   Jing

    Hey, look who is here! Good to hear from you Henry. Have a question for you. Why the Shenzhen Library is such a big deal now in China? Thanks.

  7.   Henry

    To answer Jing’s question: They are rich, as rich as you can imagine.

    Example 1:
    I paid a visit to the library not long ago at the invitation of a company who specialises in RFID (radio frequency identification). The chip on the book (the id for the book) costs RMB 3.8. The library has over 2 m in their collection. The cost of the chips on all books or other item alone is over 78 million.

    Example 2:
    The library is most probably the only library in China where users do not have to pay for access to internet or use of computer workstations.


    Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

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