Embedded librarianship 2013


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Devon Greyson, MLIS, PhD (candidate) presentation to HLABC April 2013

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  • Embeddedness is a buzz word in librarianship right now, but what does this really mean? How do health librarians work in embedded ways?
    What is research-embedded health librarianship, and is it the career path for you? Who are research-embedded health librarians, and what do they do?
    Come hear the results of a national study of research-embedded health librarians, and discuss the merits and challenges of the trend toward embedded librarianship.

    Abstract: Embedded librarianship has emerged as a “hot” topic in LIS, evidenced by a growing assortment of workshops, reports, articles, and a recent book on the topic. From hospitals to universities, librarians integrated into non-library contexts are challenging the traditional librarian-patron relationship and changing infrastructures for knowledge creation and use.

    The literature has focused on three genres of embedded librarianship: medical informationists, course-embedded academic librarians, and special librarians within corporations. Research-Embedded Health Librarians (REHLs) are an additional subset, providing tailored, intensive information services to health research teams within which they are integrated. To date, there have been no studies of REHL work or experiences, although anecdotal evidence indicates that this phenomenon may be both prominent and growing.

    This talk will present results of a mixed-methods study, conducted by a team of current and former REHLs, which aimed to describe the Canadian REHL workforce, as well as understand issues of identity, contribution and challenge among REHLs. Following the presentation of results, we will have a facilitated discussion of 'embeddedness' within multiple genres of health librarianship.

    Presenter bio: Devon Greyson is a health librarian and gender studies teacher currently pursuing an interdisciplinary PhD at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

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Embedded librarianship 2013

  1. 1. Research-Embedded HealthLibrariansDevon Greyson ~ HLABC ~ April 23, 2013
  2. 2. Embedded Librarianship
  3. 3. Embedded Librarianship• Challenging traditional librarian-patron transaction-based relationship• Changing goals, metrics, & mandate of librarians• Changing infrastructures for knowledge creation/use
  4. 4. Primary Models of Embeddedness:1. Medical informationists2. Academic course-embedded liaison librarians3. Special librarians who decentralizeEmerging: Research-embedded librarians
  5. 5. Research-Embedded Health LibrariansParticipate in research team(s) rather than focusingon traditional library management and servicesANDProvide tailored, intensive information services to ahealth research team with which s/he is integratedNOT : Academic liaison librarians, ClinicalInformationists, General hospital librarians, Librarianswith management-focused jobs, Self-employedinformation consultants.
  6. 6. REHL Investigative Team:
  7. 7. Research QuestionsWho, what and where are Research-EmbeddedHealth Librarians?RQ1: Who are REHLs, and do they differ demographicallyfrom non-RE HLs?• H1. REHLs will be younger and/or newer librarians than non-REHLsRQ2: What and where are REHL jobs in Canada?• H2. REHL jobs will be newer jobs or new incarnations of existingtraditional librarian jobs in research institutionsRQ3: What is the current REHL experience in Canada?• H3. Via descriptive qualitative analysis of REHL focus groups, wewill be able to identify themes related to REHL identity,contributions and challenges
  8. 8. MethodsSequential, mixed-method design1. Online Survey of Canadian Health Librariansa. Compare REHL & non-RE HL demographicsb. Explore REHL jobs and attributes2. REHL Focus Groupsa. Face-to-face (1) and online (3)b. English (3) and French (1)c. Explore issues of REHL identity, challenges & successes
  9. 9. Survey Results (1)191 responses; 39 (20%) were REHLsAnalysis:•Tests for difference btw REHL and non-RE HL responses•Descriptive statistics about REHL jobsREHLs were significantly more likely to be:• Younger• Newer• In smaller organizations• In contract positions
  10. 10. Survey Results (2)REHLs onlyJob attributes:• Librarians, information specialists, and research positions• The majority had other jobs in addition to REHL work• Over half worked as solo librarians; most with 1-5 researchersWork done:• Searching was key; also writing, editing, research meetings• Rarely any library management, staff supervision, collections
  11. 11. Focus Group ResultsAnalysis: Recordings transcribed and analysed in originallanguage via descriptive qualitative analysis influenced bygrounded theory.Selected Themes• Expert searching as “bread and butter” of REHL work• Role evolution & the importance of champions• Internal/external recognition of REHLs’ value• Isolation from librarianship/librarian colleagues & lack ofappropriate CE
  12. 12. REHL WorkI feel like I am in a totally different industry even thoughwe use a lot of the same skills, because I dont work in alibrary. I don’t manage a collection….Yeah, I really feellike it is a whole different world….The way I look at it isthat I am using a lot of the same skills as a healthlibrarian, or any other librarian. It is just that I am usingthem in a totally different way. (Grace)
  13. 13. IdentityI actually have in my career a few times had a professionalcrisis of, ‘Am I even a librarian anymore? Can I even callmyself that?’ (Grace)I just have much more of an intimate relationship and Iwouldn’t consider the people I work with my users. Iwould consider them more my coworkers. (Kelly)
  14. 14. Challenges[A] friend of mine with a similar position didn’t last very longbecause she found it very lonely and isolating. So I thinkyou have to be the type of person who really enjoys workingindependently. (Ellen)I’ve been in temporary jobs almost constantly since I wasout of library school...and at one point the stress was so badthat I had [a stress-related health condition], I had--I didntrealize how stressed I was until I got a permanent full-time joband it all settled down. (Cathy)
  15. 15. OpportunitiesOne of the things that I think about with the research-embedded librarians, is that it’s growing…there’s lots ofopportunities there….I’m really interested in raising theawareness of new students coming out, that there are jobs inthis field, and lots of them, possibly more than there aretraditional librarian jobs. (Darlene)“Research is getting more and more competitive, and anythingthat can help a researcher with that competitive edge—you know, keeping current and really synthesizing theinformation for them—I think will continue.” (Barbara)
  16. 16. ImplicationsFor REHLs, library education and associations,and librarian careers• Profile of REHL differs from both non-embedded HLs andother embedded librarians; also differs from REHLs of adecade ago• Hybrid ID as researcher/librarian is key; LIS world maysupport or lose this population through MLIS programs, CEopportunities, and networking/support.• Fields beyond health that assume an “evidence imperative”may see similar growth of decentralized, research-embeddedand researcher-identified librarians.
  17. 17. Now, back to YOUQuestions:• Are YOU an embedded librarian?• Do the study findings resonate with you?• Do you have anything else to add?• Are YOU a “traditional” health librarian?• Do you see elements of “embeddedness” creeping intoyour work?• Are you interested, or uninterested in embedded modelsof work?
  18. 18. A few more questions:For anyone in the room or online:• Is “Embeddedness” a fad in librarianship? (Is ”embeddedlibrarian” the new “cybrarian”?)• Will Research-embedded librarianship catch on beyondhealth disciplines?• Should health library associations do anything different tosupport REHLs?• Should MLIS programs do anything different to equipemerging librarians for research-embedded work?
  19. 19. Thank YouCo-authors: Liz Dennett, Trish Chatterley, Soleil SuretteDr. Maria Ospina from the Institute of Health EconomicsSupporters: