Here are a few examples of how we see embedded librarians direct the work they perform as a result of the relationships they build. Each is from our research on embedded programs and each shows just how important relationship- building is in expanding roles and value….and fun, too.
In a small academic institution, a professional is hired to expand outreach to faculty and students; but isn’t given any strategies, or even guidelines, to achieve her goals. What does she do? Volunteers to serve on a newly formed task force to establish a required, freshman seminar. She builds relationships (and credibility) with faculty members on the committee and is able to introduce embedded information literacy instruction into the new freshman class.
An embedded professional in a science-based company insists to a business acquisitions team that she can’t work on the project if she doesn’t “have a seat at the table” with the project leaders during their teleconferencing meetings. She gets her seat and goes on to institute a “best practice” for routinely including an embedded professional on all business acquisition projects.
Sometimes the opportunities embedded librarians discover are outside the traditional role of an information service provider. Information professional we know is embedded in both a scientific institute and a science academic department on the campus of a major university. She has taken on the role of organizer for the institute’s frequent seminars, has since strengthened the seminar offerings (not to mention her own visibility and credibility). Now, she’s frequently invited to participate in new initiatives and grants and is chair of the institute’s annual symposium for 2010.
This same professional initiated her relationship with the academic department by attending faculty meetings and presenting her library’s liaison program. From there she was invited to attend the department’s Journal Club and went on to actively contribute to the faculty’s discussion of important scholarly articles. Today, she provides bioinformatics instruction and is considered a member of the department’s faculty. Not a bad return on the initial effort of attending faculty meetings.
I could keep going, but I’m sure you get the picture. Actually, you can help us enlarge the picture. Tell us some of your stories about building-relationships and directing the path our work has taken as an embedded librarian.