Archive for July, 2012

Embedded Librarianship at the Special Libraries Association Conference

July 20, 2012

I got home early this morning (delayed flight that landed after midnight) from another invigorating and thought-provoking SLA Annual Conference.

During the conference, I contributed 3 postings to the new “ITI Books Blog” on the website of my publisher, Information Today. Rather than recap them here, I’ll just give you the link: .

Well, I will add 2 comments to what I said in those posts. First, I was disappointed at the lack of formal programs on embedded librarianship. On the other hand, I was thrilled at the number of poster presentations I saw and informal conversations I had on the topic, suggesting that the folks in the profession are taking up embedded librarianship in a big way. Second, I was excited that embedded librarianship did come up several times in the closing session as one of the most important trends in the profession.

It was another great SLA conference. Next year I hope we’ll have even more emphasis on embedded librarianship!


Librarians Who Walk on Water

July 15, 2012

This isn’t really unique to embedded librarians; I bet every successful reference librarian has had this experience. The people you help profess to be in awe of your ability to find that missing document; track down the most elusive information; manage the most disorganized data, etc. They call you a “magician”, a “gem”, a “miracle worker”. Maybe they even make a Biblical allusion and say you “walk on water”.

This makes it tough when you eventually get promoted, change jobs, etc. — especially if you stay within the same organization. Your old friends ignore your replacement, and keep calling on you. Early in my career, this happened to me. I was a proto-embedded librarian with the same group for 5 years. Eventually I was promoted. Members of the group at first kept coming to me. They didn’t trust my replacement. In time, they figured out he was just as good as I was (better!) — but it was a difficult process for a while.

What’s this got to do with embedded librarianship? I think this problem is worse with a successful embedded librarian. The relationships and collaborations are so close, the trust is so high, that it may be hard for members of the group to imagine someone else stepping in. Yet long term success depends on just that: having capable staff who can step in temporarily or permanently and perform. I’ve seen and read about cases where the whole idea falls apart when one key individual departs.

So, if you’re an embedded librarian, or the manager of an embedded librarianship program, work on developing the bench strength in your organization, and have staff who are ready to step up when they are needed. There are ways to do this. A couple of them are discussed in The Embedded Librarian. And if you’ve figured out a good way, I’d love to hear about it!

A Bibliography of Embedded Librarianship

July 13, 2012

When we were preparing “The Embedded Librarian”, my new book, the folks at InfoToday and I agreed that instead of publishing both chapter endnotes and a cumulative bibliography in the book, we’d post the bibliography on this website. That way, there’s a chance I’ll be able to add to it over time (I’ll try!) and even more importantly if you have additional works to cite, feel free to post them as comments. Please let me know if you have other suggestions as well.

Here’s the file: EmbeddedLibrarianBibliographyVersion1

Embedded Librarianship at SLA and AALL

July 1, 2012

In the coming weeks, I’ll be participating in the Special Libraries Association and American Association of Law Libraries conferences.

At SLA, I’ll be signing copies of my new book, The Embedded Librarian, at the SLA Marketplace on Monday, July 16 from 2:00 to 2:45 p.m., and I’ll also be presenting a contributed paper on Tuesday the 17th at 4:00 p.m. The contributed paper will review the results of my four year SLA-funded research project, and offer some directions for future research.

At AALL, I’ll be participating in a panel discussion on Tuesday, July 24 at 10:15 a.m. It’s entitled “Embedding Librarians to Add Value to Your Institution “, and will feature speakers from law firm, judicial, and academic law libraries as well.

If you’re attending either conference, I hope you’ll attend these programs. I look forward to meeting you!