New Survey: Academic Librarians and Faculty Need More Collaboration, Communication to Influence Student and Faculty Success

Survey, conducted by Gale and Library Journal, Finds Libraries Must Be Embedded in Campus Culture

Farmington Hills, Mich., September 1, 2015 — Closer collaboration is needed between librarians and faculty at colleges and universities, according to a new survey by Library Journal and Gale, a global provider of research resources and part of Cengage Learning. The survey of roughly 500 faculty and 500 librarians revealed disconnects about the need for faculty and campus librarians to work together and communicate more, and the role of the library on campus.

“The findings support what academic librarians already know anecdotally: proactively engaging librarians in the work of teaching faculty, including research and curriculum development, is key to a robust working relationship that leads to better outcomes for students,” said Meredith Schwartz, Executive Editor at Library Journal.

“As more pressure is put on higher education institutions to measure outcomes, there needs to be greater recognition of the value the library brings to the table,” said Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager for Gale. “From the survey it’s clear that there is opportunity and need to engrain the library in campus culture – which will ultimately elevate the learning experience, a common goal for all stakeholders.”

The survey revealed gaps around the perceived need for better collaboration and communication among faculty and librarians. In fact, one respondent reported that “faculty does not view the library as an up-to-date resource” while another respondent said quick and easy access to Google Scholar was more essential than library resources.

  • Roughly one quarter (27%) of faculty think there is no need for campus librarians and faculty to consult one another
  • Fewer than half of faculty (45%) want better communication with librarians but nearly every librarian wishes for better communication with faculty (98%).

Faculty indicate they collaborate on activities but librarians say it isn’t so.

  • More than half of faculty (57%) say they coordinate with librarians on course reserves while only 31% of librarians say they coordinate with faculty.

Disconnects also exist around the main services the library should focus on. Both faculty and librarians agree that supporting student information literacy is the most essential service provided by the library, but there was less agreement around other essential services such as supporting faculty research, developing discipline-wide collections, developing collections in direct support of course curriculum as well as text and data mining.

While suggestions from respondents on how to improve communication and collaboration centered on increasing personal interaction, librarians and faculty concurred that their preferred method of communication is email. As one respondent noted “campus culture is that librarians are not ‘officially’ part of any one of the four colleges in the university.” As feedback to the survey shows there is need for all on campus to gain a better understanding of the library and the value it provides.

The complete survey results are available at and will be presented at a panel session at The Charleston Conference in November. Highlights from the survey are included in an infographic here

For more information or to speak with a Library Journal or Gale spokesperson about the survey data, please contact Kristina Massari at [email protected].

About Cengage Learning and Gale

Cengage Learning is a leading educational content, technology, and services company for the higher education and K-12, professional and library markets worldwide. Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, is a global provider of research resources for libraries and businesses for more than 60 years. Gale is passionate about supporting the continued innovation and evolution of libraries by providing the content, tools, and services libraries need to promote information discovery, enable learning, and support economic, cultural, and intellectual growth in their communities. For more information, visit or

About Library Journal

Founded in 1876, Library Journal is one of the oldest and most respected publications covering the library field. Over 75,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries read LJ. Library Journal reviews over 8000 books, audiobooks, videos, databases, and web sites annually, and provides coverage of technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. For more information, visit Library Journal is a publication of Media Source Inc., which also owns School Library Journal, The Horn Book publications, and Junior Library Guild.