A quick search indicates that it’s been several years since I’ve mentioned Trust in this blog, and that the past mentions have been rather oblique. That’s an omission I shall now proceed to rectify!
Building trusted relationships is central to embedded librarianship. The word trust is an excellent way to characterize the way that embedded librarians interact with other team members. So what is trust, and how do you go about establishing it?
A paper from the recent Special Libraries Association conference does a great job of introducing the concept and providing some guidelines. The paper is “Trusted Librarian: Service Model Offers Best Practices for New Subject Librarians”, by Tina P. Franks, of The Ohio State University. It’s available currently from OSU’s “Knowledge Bank” institutional repository, url = http://hdl.handle.net/1811/77565 . Apparently it’s slated for future publication in Practical Academic Librarianship, the journal of the SLA Academic Division.
While it’s not specifically about embedded librarianship, practically everything in the article is directly relevant. In fact, I’d venture to say that any librarian who follows Franks’ principles will end up embedded. She highlights the interplay of librarians’ professional expertise and relationship-building skills, pointing out that “you need to earn trust before users will value your subject expertise”, and emphasizes the difference between the transactional nature of traditional library reference service and the relationship orientation required to build trust (and be an embedded librarian).
If you’re looking for some ideas to kick your relationship-building skills to the next level, or just a refresher on the nature of trust, this may be just the resource for you.