Embedded librarianship

The SLA session on this topic presented some information by 2007 SLA Research Grant recipients David Shumaker and Mary Talley on what an embedded librarian was, and was constitutes best practices among those who have successfully implemented the idea.

Presentation slides are available on David’s Blog, “The Embedded Librarian“.

I think this is what we are trying to do at my library – right now, we’re working on the “integrated library instruction” part, but I think we end up doing more than just instruction.

After identifying programs that were highly successful and those that weren’t successful, the researchers were able to identify common characteristics of successful programs.

  1. Successful programs promoted themselves – by word of mouth, by print advertising and other methods
  2. Successful programs evaluated themselves – have their numbers (documents delivered, workshop attendance, classes taught) increased?  Are they getting a good return on their investment?
  3. Successful programs offer a variety of services including in depth research, co-teaching with faculty, data analysis, ILL document delivery.
  4. And importantly, successful programs have strong management support – librarians have the freedom to set up these special services, user have the support of their management, and everyone has a strong commitment to continuing education

The program at my library has some of these characteristics: co-teaching, assessment, word of mouth advertising, and strong support of management.  We need to work on other aspects such as other types of advertising, and brining together multiple services.

It is great to see some real analysis of what practices can make a program successful.