The Library as Partner to Researchers: A Consultative Approach to Service Model Redesign

University libraries play a key role in facilitating successful research outcomes and increasingly, must be able to respond to the dynamic and complex landscape of scholarly communication in a way that aligns with their organisational values and research community needs. Within the context of Deakin University, research excellence and innovation are key strategic priorities, as evidenced by the significant uplift in performance and impact of Deakin research over the last five years.

Within the context of this changing environment, Deakin Library is increasingly and actively involved in partnering with research at both strategic and service-based levels. Alongside a history of service excellence, this partnership has been further strengthened by the intentional alignment of library strategy, which was co-created with key university stakeholders in the context of enterprise strategic goals. In addition to the alignment of these strategic plans, a recent enterprise-level operating model restructure has provided Deakin Library with an opportunity to reimagine our research service model, which this presentation will explore. At the core of this service model is the stance we have taken in positioning ourselves as a partner in the research process as well as the consultative approach adopted to design the service.

In this presentation, we will explore how we went about redesigning our service model as part of a strategic project that involved members of several teams across the library and a series of structured conversations with key research stakeholders. Our presentation will include discussion of the findings of three phases of discovery: an internal environmental scan of how researchers are supported across Deakin; an external environmental scan of library support for researchers at top-ranked institutions, both in Australia and internationally; and, consultation with our research community.

We will present preliminary designs for a new service model that positions Deakin Library as a centre for research excellence, offering researchers a valuable partner along the research journey. We will explore how this service model aligns with Deakin’s organisational values and the interests of our research community. The role of service scalability, process analysis and automation in developing and managing services across teams and stakeholders will be explored as will a range of strategic initiatives that the Library is co-leading in partnership with Deakin Research.

This presentation will showcase how Deakin library has embraced the role of a subject matter expert in research, occupying space as a strategic partner in relation to the design and development of proactive, rather than reactive, research services. In doing so, we have explicitly assumed a values-aligned operational approach to ensure that the Library continues to have a key role in Deakin’s upward research trajectory.

Lauren Halcomb-Smith

Manager, Scholarly Communication & Research Outputs, Deakin University

Author Bio

Dr. Lauren Halcomb-Smith (Manager, Scholarly Communications and Research Outputs, Deakin Library) is an award-winning facilitator and values-based leader with 10+ years of experience in the higher education sector in a variety of research, teaching, supervision, and service roles. New to the library sector, Lauren has brought a unique and fresh perspective in facilitating the process of reimagining Deakin Library’s research services model with her background in higher education teaching and research. First starting her career as a classroom educator over 20 years ago, Lauren is an experienced and skilled facilitator and public-speaker and has presented at multiple national and local conferences.

Jane Miller

Director Library Services, Information, Deakin University Library

Author Bio

Jane Miller (Director, Library Services, Information, Deakin Library) currently leads the portfolio responsible for managing the University’s Collections, Copyright, Records, Metadata and Discovery and Scholarly Communications. Jane has held leadership roles responsible for the provision of key aspects of library systems and services to research at both The University of Melbourne and Victoria University. Her professional interests include scholarly publishing, research data management, discovery and discoverability of content and resources as well as the role of systems and technology in enhancing library services and workflow processes. Jane is currently member of the Trove Strategic Advisory Committee