The Embedded Librarian blog is dedicated to exploring the development of embedded library and information services in organizations of all types. It starts from the perception that the trend of moving librarians out of libraries, both physically and organizationally, is growing, can be of great value to the organization, and can be very rewarding to the librarian — if done well.

About the Author

I am a faculty member at the Department of Library and Information Science at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Before joining the School, I spent a lengthy career in Information Services at the MITRE Corporation. While at MITRE, I expanded embedded information services, and since coming to CUA, I’ve made this trend my primary research focus. See the blog for more!


13 Responses to “About”

  1. Amy Maule Says:

    Hello Mr. Shumaker,
    I am a fairly new librarian (2 years post-MLS) and a very new embedded librarian (3 months) working for an engineering firm’s future technologies department. I never planned on having this sort of job, but I like the challenge and the increased involvement in the company. On the other hand, the added stress of being involved in the company at a higher level and having a boss that knows nothing about librarianship is making me a bit crazy.

    I’m an SLA member, and I know there must be tons of other embedded SLAers, but I haven’t found any SLA groups related to embeddedness. Do you know of any movement in SLA to create an embedded librarian division (if so, I’m interested in being involved)? Or can you recommend any other organizations?

    Thanks for your great blog! I first read it (and your paper on embedded librarianship) when I was deciding whether to become embedded and it helped me make the decision.

    Amy Maule

    • davidshumaker Says:


      Thanks for your comment. It had never occurred to me to start an “embedded librarian” group at SLA, but what a great idea! I don’t know of any existing organization focused on embedded librarianship.

      Based on your idea, I’d like to use this blog to get something started. I’m thinking an informal meeting during the SLA Conference and discuss followup activities to work on after that.

      More to follow!


    • Ruth Kneale Says:

      Is it too late to wave my hands and say “me too”? I’m an embedded librarian and a member of SLA, and would *love* to find other embedded SLAers.

    • Nadine Anderson Says:

      Did this SLA embedded librarian group ever get off the ground? I’m a newly embedded librarian, considering an SLA membership, that would love to hear about the experiences of other embedded librarians.

      • davidshumaker Says:

        Nadine, thanks for posting this question! I’m sorry to take so long getting back to you. Here’s the status. Last summer, after the SLA annual conference, I approached SLA’s Leadership & Management Division to see if they would be receptive to a petition to create an Embedded Librarians section. Unfortunately, they discouraged it. So, I’ve recently decided to try for an Embedded Librarians Caucus in SLA. I’m in the process of finding out what the perquisites of a caucus would be, and how to go about petitioning for its establishment. I’ll post updates on the blog and would like to hear from any SLA members, or prospective members, who would be interested.

      • Ruth Kneale Says:

        I would absolutely and completely be into an SLA Embedded Librarians Caucus. Please do let us know when you get the petition going, David, and if I can help (I’m on the SLA Board).

  2. Stronger Together « Mo-brarians Says:

    […] in ways that no one else can.  For us, working within charitable movements is just another form of embedded librarianship,  wherein we move ourselves out of the libraries and into community groups pursuing worthy causes […]

  3. Ruth Kneale Says:

    hi David! As a fellow embedded librarian but in a very different context, do you primarily write about being embedded in the academic/instructional context? I haven’t seen a lot of postings on other types of embedded librarians, and I was wondering if I’d missed something.

    Enjoying your new book, btw!

    • davidshumaker Says:

      Ruth, thanks for your question. Lately it seems like I’ve been emphasizing embedded information literacy instruction in higher education, but I do try to cover all contexts and types of organizations where librarians work. I believe there are fundamental similarities across all sectors, and embedded librarianship applies to all. Within higher education, I think there are opportunities beyond information literacy instruction — such as data curation and analysis. At AALL last month, I participated in a panel with representatives of a court library and a law firm library — clearly there’s interest in embedded librarianship among all sectors in law librarianship, not just law schools. This Friday, I’ll be speaking to a group of public librarians. I think the elements of relationship building and collaborating to achieve mutual goals apply to public libraries as well, and I’ve seen a few examples of this in practice. In my book (as you know) there are chapters on academic, medical, corporate, and school & public librarianship.

      Maybe I’ll post my comments after the presentation on Friday, and I’ll try to blog more on other areas as well.

      p.s. Glad you are enjoying the book!

  4. Chris Sheetz Says:

    Hi! I am an academic librarian who will be embedded with a group of high school pre-engineering students as they work on their capstone design and development project in the Spring (begin in February). I’m just beginning to think about how I will work with these students, balancing the teaching of information literacy, while also supporting their information needs. Do you know of anyone who has been involved with a course such as this one?

  5. davidshumaker Says:

    What a great opportunity you have!

    I can only offer general advice, as I’ve never worked with students in this kind of role. You might want to post your query on the emlibs list (I blogged about it over the summer) or check out Buffy Hamilton’s Unquiet Librarian blog — she is a high school embedded librarian.

    So, my general comments would be to start by getting together with the instructor who is supervising these projects. The stronger collaboration you can form with the instructor, the better off you will be. The instructor can introduce you and explain your role. Your instruction should be timed to coincide with the research phase of the project, and should cover tasks and tools that are directly relevant to the students’ work. Maybe the instructor can alert you to the greatest “pain points” — areas these students, or past students, have the most trouble with. In any case, your instruction should be backed up in some way — with exercises, consultations, etc. If online instruction is part of the course you might lead some online discussion by offering tips and guidance. Here again, the instructor can be your partner by overcoming any initial hesitation and motivating students to participate. Finally, think about evaluation. Will you have a role in evaluating student work? How will you be able to assess your contribution to students’ learning? These, again, are topics for you and the instructor to discuss.

    Best wishes! I hope you will share your experiences. I’d love to hear more about your work.


  6. Being special | Trading Knowledge Says:

    […] in academic libraries, librarians should rethink their location and get closer to users, or as the Embedded Librarian blog has […]

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    […] leads us to David Shumaker’s book The Embedded Librarian: Innovative Strategies for Taking Knowledge Where It’s Needed as a […]

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