Embedded librarians and Webinars

This week in class we will be discussing embedded librarians and begin planning for our webinars! I’m still coming down from the high I got after my successful workshop and I’m hoping that my webinar goes over just as well.

This weeks reading we split between embedded librarians and webinars. Since the webinars are still a bit of a mystery, this blog will most be on embedded librarians. Embedded librarianship is unique position in which a librarian is not in library at all but rather placed within a program, research, or teaching staff. That librarian become the information specialist and it engages directly with the work being done.

“Through embedded librarianship, librarians move from a supporting role into partnerships with their clientele, enabling librarians to develop stronger connections and relationships with those they serve” (Jake Carlson and Ruth Kneale, Embedded librarianship in the research context).

Its becoming more common to have a librarian play more than a supporting role within research and projects. I think other fields are realizing the importance and impact that having a librarian can have on different aspects of the work being done. Librarianship is a very versatile field and there are several benefits to having a embedded librarian within academic programs and fields.  I cam across a interesting blog  by Joe Hardenbrook about how librarian can start to embed themselves into a course of program. Some of the interesting points in this blog are:

  • start small with an individual course that you are comfortable with and able to expand on.
  • explain what embedded librarianship is and how it can benefit the course or program specifically.
  • Work with the faculty member to identify the level of service needed.

If its not completely possible to be embedded into a program, think about other tools you can use that can be embedded. Its also really helpful to provide services such as workshop, screencast or open communication between you and anyone in the course or program that need assistance. “The Embedded Librarian Online or Face-to-face: American University’s Experience” is a great case study of how both a embedded librarian or embedded library tools can ‘close the communication gap between librarians in the library and the users the serve in the colleges’.

[Caution: My soap box is coming out] I think all programs should have a embedded librarian. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, information is complex and sometime useless with people who can organize and utilize it. Career and academic counselors  are embedded into programs and colleges because the student need their expertise and skills to help navigate the wealth of information and resource. There’s so much course and student content that are just floating around with no home and no one to cultivate them into useful and meaningful libguides, workshops and webinar. I get that its a cost to the college and the university to hire someone to do this job, but you can expect a traditional librarian to fill all the holes that students need filled.


Til next time…shhh



  1. Thanks for sharing some highlights from Hardenbrook’s blog. I like the idea of starting with one course, succeeding there with focus, and then using that success as evidence and guidance for expanding embedded librarianship at the institution. Reading your blog made me think about the importance of being able to communicate the value of what librarians do. Persuasive argument for embedded librarianship will help to convince administrators that invested money will be worth it, and will encourage more patrons to seek out support. So I guess we should all practice elevator speeches! Also, I wonder if there is a better term for “embedded librarian” so as to stay away from jargon.

  2. “Embedded librarianship is unique position in which a librarian is not in library at all but rather placed within a program, research, or teaching staff. That librarian become the information specialist and it engages directly with the work being done.”

    I would argue that the Health Sciences informationists at Taubman are embedded librarians who are also physically situated in a library space (we were and will once again be in a space that is a library). Our library is on the medical campus which I would argue is more embedded than Hatcher with some of its departments and schools and we are very much collaborators and resources, not just resource providers for our patrons. The Business and Law libraries are also deeply embedded in their respective schools physically and instructionally. My main point is that we should not be as concerned with the title of the physical location of embedded librarians; our definition of embedded librarians should be more focused on their activity as a resource and collaborator rather than as a resource provider.

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