Crafting Identity, Collaboration, and Relevance for Academic Librarians Using Communities of Practice



Faculty/librarian collaboration is vital for librarians to remain integral to the academy. We now have an opportunity to change how we perceive ourselves and how we are perceived by faculty and administrators. There are viable solutions for expanding the role of the librarian in ways that could lead to better faculty partnerships. First, librarians must be grounded in a shared purpose and professional identity and establish a contextual framework for our own professional ‘boundaries.’ We cannot create an intersection with the knowledge and experience of others if we do not have an understanding of our own frame. Interviews and investigation of the professional literature led to a re-discovery of communities of practice. Communities of practice (CoPs) are promising tools for librarians because they can be used to develop and sustain professional identity. Once the shared purpose and practice is identified, CoPs can facilitate collaboration between librarians and faculty and develop partnerships that will increase understanding, create meaningful connections and improve perception. Communities of practice build professional empathy, and this empathetic understanding is the essence of alignment. Once our services are aligned with the needs and expectations of our users, we will become more relevant and valuable to our institutions.


Attribute NameValues
  • Parker Ladwig

  • Thurston Miller

  • Nora Belzowski

  • Collaborative Librarianship

Date Created
  • 2015-03-30

  • English

Departments and Units
Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Digital Object Identifier


This DOI is the best way to cite this article.


Collections Featuring this Article
Parker Ladwig


Please Note: You may encounter a delay before a download begins. Large or infrequently accessed files can take several minutes to retrieve from our archival storage system.