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Practicum: Liaison Programs, Social Sciences, University of Tennessee Libraries

Practicum Type

In Person

Semester, Number of Students

Ongoing, single student


Knoxville, TN

Work Site

Liaison Programs at John C. Hodges Library at University of Tennessee – Knoxville, is a group of faculty librarians dedicated to connected individual colleges, departments, faculty, staff, and students with the resources and services offered by the library.

The Liaison Programs specialize in subject specific support ensuring faculty, staff, and students have sustained relationships with the library throughout their time at UTK. This department is located within John C. Hodges library and primarily provides support to Knoxville-based faculty, staff, and students.

Student Tasks

In this practicum, the student would be working primarily with the Social Sciences Data Librarian who is the primary subject specialist for Department of Psychology (the largest department on campus), and is also part of the library’s Data Services Team tasked with secondary data discovery and basic data visualization.

Student tasks in the practicum could include preparing for and participating in social sciences library instruction, developing and implementing library instruction assessment tools, developing subject specific library guides, preparing for and providing social sciences research support, developing and implementing research support assessment tools, assisting with social sciences collection development (i.e. weeding, reviewing potential purchases, gathering metrics to support large purchases), attending departmental meetings to hear from other subject specialists, develop and implement outreach campaigns for the social sciences (i.e. creating promotional materials, planning and executing outreach events, assessing outreach impact), participate in academic library research projects (i.e. participating in research design, collection, analysis, and presentation).

The academic library research projects included in this practicum could focus on space assessment or collection assessment or departmental needs assessment or undergraduate information literacy assessment, depending on the interests of the student.

Type of mentoring provided to student

The student in this practicum will be able to pursue any interest related to being a subject specialist academic librarian. This can include instruction, outreach, collection development, or general academic library research opportunities. I will mentor the student by giving them autonomy in what kind of experience they are hoping to gain, and providing opportunities and support to pursue those opportunities.

This practicum would be ideal for anyone hoping to gain academic library experience on the side of outreach, instruction, research support, and subject specific collection development. There will be boundaries and guidelines in this practicum experience, but the experience will also be driven by the needs and interests of the practicum student. So the mentoring will be more experience driven than task driven.

Level of interaction the student will have with others in the organization

The student will have the opportunities to interact with all of the subject specialists within the Liaison Programs, the staff librarians that oversee Research Assistance, the Collections and Acquisition team, data librarians from the Scholar’s Collaborative, and many students, faculty, and staff from the Psychology Department.

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