Are embedded librarians really more satisfied in their jobs than other information professionals? I’ve asked the question and here’s a qualified answer: yes, we believe so. Our research didn’t include a study of job satisfaction levels among embedded and non-embedded librarians. Job satisfaction is certainly not exclusive to embedded librarians; plenty of information professionals of all types love their roles and their jobs. But, we continually observe the unique role of an embedded librarian leading to an extraordinary sense of job satisfaction. Here are some of the reasons why.
Embedded librarians are great at relationship-building. Our research shows embedded librarians engaging in multiple interactions with customer groups – interactions they are as likely to initiate as the customer – that give them an intimate knowledge of the group’s work and related challenges. We see them regularly participating in their customers’ work meetings, taking advantage of the same learning opportunities, and meeting with all levels of group members to discuss challenges and solutions. These are game-changing tactics that put embedded librarians on the ground with their customer groups – and in a very advantageous position.
This may all sound very exciting, but how does it translate into greater job satisfaction? When embedded librarians drive interactions with their customers, they change the dynamics of the service provider and customer roles – and, put themselves in a position to control more of the work they perform. What we’ve witnessed is a cycle in which the closer embedded librarians work with a group, the more they know; the more they know, the more they can take part in the group’s conversation; and the more they actively participate in the conversation, the easier it is to spot opportunities to apply their skills and expertise to problem solving. This is truly expanding your own capabilities and directing your own work.
What is job satisfaction about if it isn’t the ability to direct your work and expand into more interesting, challenging and responsible roles?
(In my next post, I’ll give some real-life examples of how embedded librarians are directing and developing their own work.)