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The embedded librarian


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The Embedded Librarian presentation by David Oberhelman at the 2016 Oklahoma Library Association Annual Conference.

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The embedded librarian

  1. 1. The Embedded Librarian David D. Oberhelman Research & Learning Services Oklahoma State University Library
  2. 2. From guardians at the gate… Source: Michael Harry Lyndberg, History of the New York Public Library, 1916, public domain,
  3. 3. To strange (or perfect) bedfellows Public domain under Creative Commons CC0 license
  4. 4. Why did librarians become embedded? • “Embedded journalists” of Iraq War • In libraries, the special librarian (or branch librarian) model • Changes in patron use – fewer coming to reference desk with resarch questions, more remote/virtual users • Greater emphasis on reference librarians as subject specialists and partners with faculty in teaching
  5. 5. What is an “embedded librarian”? • “Embedded librarian programs often locate librarians involved in the spaces of their users and colleagues, either physically or through technology, in order to become a part of their users’ culture. A librarian’s physical and metaphorical location is often what defines them as embedded.” (Drewes & Hoffman, 2010) • Embedded librarian “becomes a member of the customer community rather than a service provider standing apart” (Shumaker, 2009)
  6. 6. What embedded librarians do: • Change in the “old” model of reference librarian to embedded liaison librarian • Go to patrons rather than have patrons come to them • Consultation time/office hours for research assistance • Alternate means of consultation (email, chat, Skype, etc.) • Integrate more into the life of the academic department • Market the library and its services to patrons (in-person, email, blogs, newsletters, etc.) • Participate in departmental events, serve on committees, etc.
  7. 7. More of what embedded librarians do • Enhanced instruction/embed in courses (flipped instruction, collaborative teaching, etc.) • Embed in research process (work on grants, co-investigator, etc.) • Prepare research guides (LibGuides), support pages, etc. • Offer support in new areas such as data management, altmetrics, scholarly communication, OERs, etc. • Personalized library service • Move out of comfort zone… and move out of the library
  8. 8. What we no longer do • Reference desk staffing • Graduate assistants staff desk • Some on-call shifts with librarians • Make referrals to subject liaisons • Collection development (or do less collection development) • Smaller book budgets • Still take requests • Patron Driven Acquisitions (PDA)—just in time vs. just in case • Expand approval plan • First-year instruction (comp, orientation courses) • Undergraduate Services Librarian, First-Year Experience Librarian, GAs • Liaisons do upper-division and graduate classes • Expect patrons to come to us
  9. 9. Embedding with OSU English Department
  10. 10. Becoming a part of your department • Departmental meetings • One-on-one faculty visits (esp. targeting new faculty) • Meet with the students/student organizations • Making self a presence in the department/building • Work on in-depth research questions beyond simple reference questions • Database support, research guides, etc. • Build personal relationships
  11. 11. Consultation space in English building Morrill Hall Office. Photo by David Oberhelman
  12. 12. History consultation space (new) Murray Hall Office. Photo by David Oberhelman
  13. 13. OSU Writing Center consultation time OSU Writing Center. Photo used with permission
  14. 14. Writing Center publicity OSU Writing Center librarian ad. Photo by David Oberhelman
  15. 15. Writing Center patrons I serve • Students receiving tutoring (tutor referrals for research assistance with databases, citation help, etc.) • Writing Center tutors (i.e., English graduate students) with their own research needs • Other patrons from English or different departments with which I work (using appointment scheduler)
  16. 16. Graduate Research & Writing Lab (GRWL) • Joint venture between OSU Library and Writing Center pairing writing tutors and subject librarians aimed at graduate students • Evenings 5-8pm • Different subject focus nights; I work the humanities or social sciences/humanities nights • Marketed to graduate students via liaisons and our Graduate Services Director • Mixed traffic, not as much for librarian, but good way to promote library and services to graduate students
  17. 17. Gather stats and data on consultations • Document all consultation sessions (location, duration, format, patron type, general info on topic, resources consulted) • Quantitative and qualitative (feedback, evaluations, etc.) • Compile in format easy for you to consult (Excel, LibAnalytics, etc.) • Data on other embedded activities (instruction, workshops, faculty meetings, etc.) • Gather data on whole RLS Division to measure individual and group impact
  18. 18. LibAnalytics report on consultation
  19. 19. Course embedding
  20. 20. Course projects (digital humanities projects) • ENGL 4723 Shakespeare and History course, Fall 2014 – Student groups create online guide to Holinshed’s Chronicles, source of Shakespeare’s history plays, which we have in OSU Special Collections/University Archives • Co-authoring book chapter for ACRL volume on subject librarian/special collections collaborations • ENGL 4120 17th Century Poetry, Fall 2015 – Student groups create online guide to a commonplace book compiled by Elizabeth Newell in Yale’s Beineke Library • Students discovered Newell had transcribed poetry by other authors • Professor has journal article forthcoming in The Library (Oxford UP)
  21. 21. OkstateShakespeare project on Shakespeare & Holinshed’s Chronicles ENGL 4723 site, Fall 2014. Photo by David Oberhelman
  22. 22. Newell Poems project site ENGL 4120 site, Fall 2015. Photo by David Oberhelman
  23. 23. Showcase for the Shakespeare class project ENGL 4723 digital showcase ad. Photo by David Oberhelman
  24. 24. Showcase – Holinshed volumes ENGL 4723 showcase. Photo by David Oberhelman
  25. 25. Showcase – students showing their webpages ENGL 4120 showcase. Photo by David Oberhelman
  26. 26. Other courses: ENGL 4320 Contemporary African American Fiction print history projects Source: AbeBooks, fair use,
  27. 27. Other considerations and impact
  28. 28. Other embedded activities as assigned • Help organize English Dept. book readings/lectures in the library • Serve as moderator for English graduate student conference • Invite faculty to speak at meetings/conferences • Assist faculty with special projects: • Collection of 17th century books needing preservation • Working with TESL professor/graduate students creating OER for international composition class • Dissertation reading and feedback • Help soothe “sore spots” and catch problems early
  29. 29. Embedding in multiple departments • Triage: what are their needs (research, materials, services, programs)? • Spreading out time • Music: Noon Concert Series • History: • Great War and Its Legacy lecture series • Earlier grant-funded programming series • Starting embedded consultation time in History building
  30. 30. Benefits of embedding • Facilitates communication between library and patrons/departments • Library more up-to-date on research and teaching needs in departments • Enhances role of the library as in research and learning across campus • Builds sense of collegiality between librarian and faculty • Makes future partnerships with campus units possible • Demonstrates the value of the academic library (people & collections)
  31. 31. Other library settings • Public libraries • Community engagement • Librarians embed in community groups and centers for remote services • Collaborate on projects, programs, etc. • School libraries • Work with teachers/classes • Projects and other collaborative efforts
  32. 32. Bibliography Blake, Lindsay, Kim Mears, Kathy Davies, Darra Ballance, Peter Shipman, Maryska Connolly-Brown, and Julie K. Gaines. ‘Adapting an Embedded Model of Librarianship, College by College’. Medical Reference Services Quarterly 33, no. 3 (July 2014): 264–77. doi:10.1080/02763869.2014.925668. Campbell, Lisa, Diana Matthews, and Nance Lempinen-Leedy. ‘Wake up Information Literacy Instruction: Ideas for Student Engagement’. Journal of Library Administration 55, no. 7 (September 21, 2015): 577–86. doi:10.1080/01930826.2015.1076313. Coltrain, Mark. ‘Growing Embedded Librarians like Kudzu: How the Embedded Extension Service Creates More Embedded Librarians without Creating New Positions’. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning 8, no. 3-4 (October 2, 2014): 204–15. doi:10.1080/1533290x.2014.945835. Drewes, Kathy and Nadine Hoffman. ‘Academic Embedded Librarianship: An Introduction’. Public Services Quarterly 6, no. 2-3 (September 14, 2010): 75–82. doi:10.1080/15228959.2010.498773. L. Hall, Susan and Derek Hunter Marshall. ‘Embedded Librarianship in Branch Settings: Customizing Liaison Services’. New Library World 115, no. 11/12 (November 5, 2014): 508–14. doi:10.1108/nlw-04-2014-0045. Leonard, Elizabeth and Erin McCaffrey, eds. Virtually Embedded: The Librarian in an Online Environment. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2013. Morrow, Debbie. ‘Becoming a Liaison Librarian.’ College & Research Libraries News 77, no. 1 (January 2016): 38–39. Shumaker, David. ‘Who Let the Librarians out? Embedded Librarianship and the Library Manager’. Reference & User Services Quarterly 43, no. 2 (2009): 239–42,257.
  33. 33. Changes are occurring, but remember… KEEP CALM AND EMBED ON!