Liaison (or subject specialist) librarians are routinely identified as essential to the sustained success of academic libraries. Yet despite the purported centrality of liaisons to the mission of their institutions, many libraries have struggled to define the role of the subject specialist. These attempts at definition have resulted in a proliferation of service models and deployment strategies. This paper examines and critiques the design and deployment of subject specialist services in science and engineering libraries. The authors advocate for a team-based approach to STEM librarianship, highlighting its advantages over two commonly used models: the discipline specialist and the functional specialist. The authors have successfully employed a team-based model in two different institutional settings, most recently at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. This paper shares lessons learned from implementing a team-based model, discussing the opportunities and challenges of such an approach.


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pp. 565-584
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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