- The Subject Specialists in University Libraries
- No.15, p.85-95
The subject specialist, who has highly specialized knowledge in a particular subject field as well as librarianship, is now accepted as an emerging type of library staff in American and British university libraries. Working in a field of knowledge, the subject specialist concerns himself with a wide range of library tasks, such as book selection, cataloging, advanced reference service, etc.
Book selection has been mainly the responsibility of the faculty, but specialized knowledge together with bibliographic skills quite often enables the subject specialist to select material as well as or even better than the faculty.
The subject specialist can provide more specialized in-depth service to readers than the generalist-librarian. He is expected to participate in research activities and eventually to become an integral part of academic community.
The subject specialist may be in a positive situation to demonstrate the status value of academic librarians. However, if we put too much emphasis on subject ability, it would disregard the librarian's proper functions and knowledge. The librarian is essentially a generalist; he is neither a researcher nor a research assistant.