One of the points that comes up in conversation about embedded librarianship is that it’s a lot easier if your organization already has an orientation towards flexibility, dynamic teams, matrix management, functional integration or some similar approach to getting diverse people working together to accomplish tasks.
If you’re working in a traditional organization and have an org chart defined by a lot of little functional boxes that don’t collaborate very well, your efforts to promote embedded librarianship are definitely going to be counter-cultural. If your arms get tired, it’s because you’re paddling upstream all day.
In my corporate experience, I was fortunate to work in an organization that really “got it” about cognitive diversity and cross-functional teaming. In addition to embracing embedded librarianship, they also established Human Resource Business Partners. As a manager, I had a designated HR person to work with on any staffing issues that came up. It made my life easier!
In the past few years, I get the feeling that the notion of an HR Business Partner has become pretty widespread. As a matter of fact, I recently read something in which the author referred to an “HRBP” without even spelling it out. It took me a minute, but I realized the acronym stood for “Human Resources Business Partner.” If you go to acronymfinder.com, you’ll have no trouble locating it.
The same idea seems to be taking hold in information technology units as well. In a recent interview (http://bit.ly/lakCJY ), the president of American Railcar Industries, Lee Anderson, says, “Rather than training everybody in development skills, we are embedding key skill sets into business units.”
Substitute “information management” for “development” and you’ve got embedded librarians. So maybe if you’re having trouble explaining embedded librarianship in your organization, these models from Human Resources and Information Technology can help.