Alexis M Waide

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Embedded librarianship

Last week in LIS 2000, we had a panel of three librarians, one from an academic library, one from a middle school library, and one from a public library.  I thought it was interesting that all three of them brought up embedded librarianship.

November 30, 2011

One thing that came up quite frequently last night during the panel discussion was the idea of embedded librarianship – the idea that librarians need to get out from behind the desk, get out of the office, or get out of the library entirely, and make their presence known within whatever community they are a part of.

I first heard the term used in David Lankes‘ (a professor at Syracuse’s iSchool) recent talk here at the iSchool.  From what I remember, he gave an example of a librarian he knows working within an university’s science department.  She has weekly hours where she is physically present within the department, as well as a Twitter feed which she updates regularly with sources and news articles relevant to the various research groups within the department.  The department finds her increased presence, both physically and virtually, incredibly useful.  Sounds like a success.

I think part of the drive toward and the likely success of embedded librarianship comes from having a familiar face present within a community of learners or patrons.  We’re all familiar with “library anxiety” from our readings and class discussions.  What better way to combat the anxiety than having a librarian present within a classroom, department, writing center, Twitter feed, etc., putting a name and (hopefully) friendly face to the library?

This librarian had to eat ice cream, drink fresh milk and play with adorable barn kittens as the embedded librarian for a University of Oregon class called Geographies of Food.  If this is what embedded librarianship involves, sign me up!

This is an interesting article on embedded librarianship from Library Journal.

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