More on Organizing Embedded Services

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While we’re exploring names for the different ways of organizing embedded services (see Daniel Lee’s comment), I’d like to continue with exploring the pros and cons of the different models. I hope you’ll help by adding your perspectives.

An advantage of the librarian reporting to the customer group is that the customer management has made a visible commitment to the information service. In a well run organization, the decision to hire a staff member isn’t taken lightly. It’s a big commitment, and only done when the manager is convinced that it necessary for the optimal functioning of the group. The commitment includes paying salary and benefits for the librarian, providing space, etc. So the effective manager will back up this commitment by making sure the embedded librarian has the opportunities to establish her role in the group.

The danger of an embedded relationship led by a central library organization is that it could look like something being “done to” or “done for” the group — not a step that’s organic to the group’s functioning. It might have little support from the customer management — or what might be worse — lip service without any real commitment.

I’d love to have some comments from embedded librarians that report to their customer groups about the advantages they see in this form of organization, and from others about how librarians can achieve real buy-in from customer managers.

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