October 18, 2013
(Updated October 30)
The link to the “Inside Embedded Librarianship” webinar has been restored! Both the recording and the slides are available via links on the SLA Education Division website at http://education.sla.org/embedded-librarianship-webinar-resources/ . Thanks to Lesley Farmer and the SLA Education Division leadership for intervening to get access restored.
October 11, 2013
Sorry for the late posting on this. Simply an oversight on my part.
In a few hours, I’ll be presenting a webinar, entitled “Inside Embedded Librarianship,” for the SLA Education Division. Time is Friday, Oct. 11, at 1:30 p.m. US Eastern time. (I’m posting on Friday at about 10:00 a.m. US Eastern.)
We’ll review the essential characteristics of embedded librarianship, explore key trends, share practices of successful embedded librarians, and have time left over for questions. It’s free and open to all and (as of now) there’s still time to register.
Register at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/121949849
In case you don’t see this in time or have a schedule conflict, I understand that the Education Division plans to make the recording available. I’ll post the link when I have it.
October 7, 2013
By the way, I’ve posted my presentation (co-authored with Matt Foley) to the Australian Law Librarians’ Association at http://www.slideshare.net/davidshumaker/audacious-goalsalla2013pdf .
I hope non-law librarians will enjoy it too!
October 7, 2013
I recently returned from Australia, where I participated in the annual conference of the Australian Law Librarians’ Association in Sydney. It was a rich learning experience, and a lot of fun. I look forward to keeping in touch with the new friends I made.
After the conference, I also had the opportunity to visit Macquarie University, where I met with Mary Simons, the embedded librarian in the Australian School of Advanced Medicine. (See Mary’s paper “Time to rethink the role of the library in educating doctors: Driving information literacy in the clinical environment” (Journal of the Medical Library Association, 100(4), 291-296. doi:10.3163/1536-5050.100.4.011) for insights into her work.)
At lunch with members of the library staff, I learned a subtle but important distinction between Australian and American use of the term “shout” that Americans would do well to keep in mind. Where in the U.S. we’ve come to use “shout out” as slang for “recognize” or “acknowledge” (as in the title of this post, which means, “An Acknowledgment to My Friends in Australia”), it turns out that in Australia, to “shout” for someone is to pay for = to pick up the check. So, Americans, when in Australia beware of “shouting out” to your friends — or you may find yourself stuck with the tab for everybody in the pub!
(p.s. to my friends in Australia: I’ll definitely “shout” for a round next time I visit — and I hope it will be soon!)
September 14, 2013
This post is inspired by an article I read recently in the March 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review. (I’m always behind in my reading…)
The article is “The Case for Stealth Innovation” by Paddy Miller and Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg. The authors discuss the advantages and requirements for introducing innovations quietly, not attracting senior management attention until the innovation is well established, “flying under the radar.” While the stealthy approach has its requirements, like finding allies who will support you, it avoids the possibility that by seeking permission, you’ll receive a premature “no” from an executive who doesn’t “get” your proposal.
The stealthy approach resonates with the challenges of initiating embedded librarianship. In the organizations I’ve studied, there are some that have taken the non-stealthy approach, and others that have employed a more bottom-up strategy. To be sure, there are cases in which senior executives push the librarian into an embedded role. That’s great, if the boss is alert and understands the opportunity for the librarian to contribute. I’ve seen examples of that in my research.
But when you don’t have a senior leader like that, finding an ally in middle management may be the best — or only — way to go. I like to think that in healthy organizations, power will be distributed sufficiently that a library manager and the manager of a group that needs an embedded librarian can make it happen without having to get senior approval. Then, they get the opportunity to prove the concept before publicizing it widely.
August 19, 2013
How I spent my summer “vacation” — well, it wasn’t a vacation, but it was an incredibly busy and productive time.
One of the great opportunities I had was to present a paper, “Librarians in the Intelligence Process”, at the “Understanding and Improving Intelligence Analysis” workshop, hosted by the Center for Intelligence and Security Studies at the University of Mississippi.
The paper was a collaboration with two incredible leaders in librarianship, author and speaker Ran Hock (The Extreme Searcher’s Internet Handbook), and Fedlink Executive Director Blane Dessy.
The presentation is posted on Slideshare at http://wp.me/p5xhJ-8B
July 26, 2013
I’ve just uploaded to Slideshare the presentation I gave at the SLA Conference last month. It’s entitled, “Collaborate! (Is There Any Other Way?)” and you can find it at http://www.slideshare.net/davidshumaker/sla-panel-oncollaboration11june2013shumaker .
Hope you find it helpful. Comments welcome!
July 1, 2013
In recent weeks, I’ve learned of two new books on embedded librarianship. I haven’t read them yet, but I plan to do so.
The first is Developing Community-Led Public Libraries, by John Pateman and Ken Williment (http://bit.ly/12yDccC ) In categorizing it as embedded librarianship, I’m probably inferring a relationship the authors didn’t intend. They don’t use the word “embedded” in any of the snippets I’ve read so far. Still, their emphasis on relationships and on partnering with members of the community link up well with the core principles of embedded librarianship. In their introduction, Pateman and Williment write, “Since a community-led approach is based upon the development of relationships with individuals from various communities, by initially focusing on a geographical community or specific community of interest (for example, seniors, people with disabilities, etc.), it provides a library system with a viable and practical introduction to using community-led services.” and “Once needs have been identified and prioritized they can be met by using a community development approach. This is very different from an outreach approach which simply takes library services (which have been designed, planned, delivered and evaluated by library staff) out of the library and into community settings. A community development approach is based on creating meaningful and sustained relationships with local communities, while acknowledging that the community is the expert on its members’ own needs. Library staff become listeners rather than tellers, and staff and community co-produce library services.”
The second is Embedding Librarianship in Learning Management Systems: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians, by Beth Tumbleson and John Burke (http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=4266 ) The authors draw on their own experience as academic librarians, as well as a survey of embedded academic librarians. Starting from the premise that information literacy instruction works best when integrated (or embedded) with actual research problems.
I’m excited to see both of these additions to the literature, and look forward to reading them.
May 19, 2013
As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I visited New Jersey on May 7 at the invitation of the SLA New Jersey Chapter, to deliver the 36th annual Alice Rankin lecture. I had a wonderful time, and thank everyone in the chapter for their hospitality.
The lecture was entitled “The Embedded Model, the Future of Librarianship, and What to Do at Work Tomorrow!” and it’s available on Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/davidshumaker/alice-rankin-lecture
May 13, 2013
The May 2013 issue of American Libraries, the official magazine of the American Library Association, carries three mentions of embedded librarianship, and taken together they provide an interesting range of perspectives.
In his article, “Defining Transformation”, ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels provides a brief survey of the transformative changes taking place in all sectors of librarianship. I couldn’t agree more with his premise. I have come to believe that we’re living in the midst of the greatest information revolution since the printing press, and that embedded librarianship is one of the new, emerging models for our profession. Fiels writes, “Increasingly, librarians are now embedded in the community as a way to better serve groups such as seniors or small businesses.”
As if to confirm Fiels’ point, Evie Wilson-Lingbloom’s personal narrative, “Retired, but Embedded” describes her volunteer work with Hedgebrook, a writing residency program for women. She describes the ways that her skills as a librarian have contributed to the group and made a difference to its participants — and also how she has used her affiliation to benefit the local public library. She concludes, “Working as a librarian embedded in this venue enables me to continue effecting change myself — for libraries and for people.”
Finally, Meredith Farkas elevates embedded librarianship to the status of a hot, hyped-up idea. She leads off her article “Spare Me the Hype Cycle” with the following example of hype: ” ‘Every academic librarian worth her salt is embedded.’ ” In a way, this is flattering for me as someone who has both studied and advocated embedded librarianship. I wouldn’t have said we had reached the peak of inflated expectations yet!
I do try to mention, as I did in my presentation to the New Jersey chapter of SLA last week, that embedded librarianship isn’t the only future for librarians. However, I do think it’s an important element of our professional future. In the end, I agree with Farkas’ closing sentence, “Focusing on the needs and priorities of those we serve helps to ensure that we are embracing — or not embracing — new tools for the right reasons.” And the embedded model is a good way — perhaps the best — to attain that focus.