Reflections on embedded librarianship

Russell Hall, University of Southern Maine
User:Nickline4 [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Two weeks ago I mentioned an embedded librarianship (EL) course.  It had me thinking more deeply about certain issues.


We can gain important insights from data we already collect.  We can look, for instance, at students’ sources or their search strategies.  We can use pretests and posttests.  Depending on the desired outcomes possibilities abound.


EL partnerships allow us to explore tools in the learning management system.  As a case in point have you tried the blogs or journals in BlackBoard?For certain outcomes they might serve very well.


By its customized nature EL doesn’t scale especially well.  That said we can offer such services more intentionally.  We can target high-impact courses instead of offering EL to every course.  We can follow a course during key weeks of the semester, rather than for the whole semester.  We can use guides and tutorials for more routine content.  We can distribute work among multiple librarians.

This last point leads to my biggest takeaway from the class: We librarians are not along in offering embedded service.  We have our colleagues on our respective campuses.  We have the wisdom of the larger library community as well.  My classmates are a treasure trove of ideas.

Embedded librarianship is not the only viable model, and I wouldn’t recommend it for every situation.  There are different levels of embeddedness as well.  All the same I am happy to discuss these ideas with you at greater length.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *