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Beyond the Desk:

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Colleen Sanders

on 24 July 2015

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Transcript of Beyond the Desk:

Beyond the Desk:
Academic Librarianship

"[By] offering library service in a non-library space...We leave the library to help sustain its place at the heart of the university."
-McKeigue & Blake, 2011

Deitering, A.M., & Jameson, S. (2008). Step by Step through the Scholarly Conversation: A Collaborative Library/Writing Faculty Project to Embed Information Literacy and Promote Critical Thinking in First Year Composition at Oregon State University. College and Undergraduate Libraries, 15(1/2).

Dewey, B. (2004). The embedded librarian: Strategic campus connections. Resource Sharing & Information Networks, 17(1-2), 5-17.

Federer, Lisa. 2010. We will be assimilated: Five experiences in embedded librarianship. Public Services Quarterly, 6, 150–164. http://dx.doi.org/10.7191/jeslib.2013.1039

Helms, M. M., & Whitesell, M. (2013). Transitioning to the Embedded Librarian Model and Improving the Senior Capstone Business Strategy Course. Journal Of Academic Librarianship, 39(5), 401-413. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2013.03.015

Kesselman, M. A., & Watstein, S. B. (May 01, 2009). Creating Opportunities: Embedded Librarians. Journal of Library Administration, 49, 4, 383-400.

Lankes, R. D. (2011). The atlas of new librarianship. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Lebeau, C. (2011). Practitioners as adjunct teachers. In Zabel, E. (Ed.). Reference reborn: Breathing new life into public services librarianship, (255-372). Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Lewis. (2007). A strategy for academic libraries in the first quarter of the 21st century. College and research libraries, 68(5), 418-434.

McKeigue, E., & Farwell Blake, L. (2011). Going beyond the desk: 21st century reference, outreach, and teaching services. In Zabel, E. (Ed.). Reference reborn: Breathing new life into public services librarianship, (29-42). Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Schulte, S. (2012). Embedded academic librarianship: A review of the literature. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 122-138.

Shumaker, D. (2012). The embedded librarian: Innovative strategies for taking knowledge where it’s needed.

Shumaker, D., & Talley, M. (2010). Models of embedded librarianship: A research summary. Information Outlook, 14(1).

Smith, S. S., & Sutton, L. (2011). The embedded academic librarian. In Zabel, E. (Ed.). Reference reborn: Breathing new life into public services librarianship, (93-104). Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Steiner, S. K., & Madden, L. M. (2008). The desk and beyond: Next generation reference services.

How does it work?
What motivates this trend?
1. Relocate to primary group's natural habitat. Going native?
[Department- or course-based; CMS for distance ed.]
-"The reality in academia is people work in teams" (Shumaker, 2012, 36).
2. Learn the language, workflow to identify info needs
[Not waiting to be asked]
2. Make value-added contributions
-Reference at or before point of need
-Build info literacy into curriculum
-Support students in research & projects
-Support faculty in curriculum/course design/IR
-Library visibility: collections and services

Matter of scale: continuum between library & department
Advantages and Disadvantages of Embedded Librarians
Measuring Effectiveness:
Assessing the Librarian Beyond the Desk

Does it work?
-Harvested from Dewey, 2004; Shumaker and Talley, 2010
from within library community for reference model that works in 21st c. information environment

from society for workers who can use and share info to effect; also changes in higher education
Traditional 20th c. model
Library building/web site
Librarian expertise
Reference desk/service
"An informal setting can open up a whole new
range of questions."
-McKeigue & Blake, 2011, 34
Formal definitions
Evolution of reference in EL
Participate in & bring info to a group of non-librarians
[faculty, students, researchers]
Locate in & be accountable to a customer group
[office hours, CMS, new media spaces, etc.]
Provide specialized, customized, value-added service
[subject guides, research support, publish IR/OA, etc.]
Build relationships with, align goals with &
share responsibility for outcome of a group
-Harvested from Dewey, 2004; Kesselman, ; McKeigue & Blake, 2011; Shumaker, ; Shumaker & Talley, 2010 ;Dewey, 2004
Individual customer...............................Team of collaborators
Transaction-based.........................................Ongoing projects
Service (outsider)...........................................Partner (aligned)
Generalized....................................Invested in group outcome
Commodity service.......................................................Integral
Interchangeable (?)........................................Local knowledge
Info Commons model
Embedded model
Bring librarians (expertise) & some collection to user workspaces
Reform library space to mirror user workspace/accommodate info-based collaborations
Physical: office hours
Virtual: CMS
EX: Virtual EL
Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen: Wilsonville Campus Librarian @ OIT
"Attached librarian" marketed to distance faculty on course-by-course basis
Info literacy, research, composition help in CMS
Point of need and follow up
Balances this with traditional library role at OIT
Sustainability: reasonable expectations for communication
Response: Students +, faculty & librarians mixed
Challenge: time management, getting faculty on board
David Shumaker: The Embedded Librarian: Innovative Strategies for Taking Knowledge Where It's Needed
Blog: http://embeddedlibrarian.com/
SLA presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/davidshumaker/sla-spotlight2014-embeddedlibrarianship
ARL's special edition of Research Libraries dedicated to liaison roles (August 2009 #265) at http://publications.arl.org/rli265/
SLA's special edition of Information Outlook vol. 14, issue 1
If not an SLA member, see bibliography here http://www.sla.org/learn/resource-guides-2/embedded-information-services/
Public Services Quarterly special issue 2010, vol. 6, issues 2-3
Joe Hardenbrook on getting started: http://mrlibrarydude.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/embedded-librarian-101-how-to-get-started/
1. Forms reciprocal relationships > prove your value
2. Markets the service
3. Evaluates the service to prove its value.
[Financial outcomes, ROI, cost avoidance, service metrics]
4. Gets managerial support from both library admin and academic department
[Snag: faculty buy-in]
Demand grew and EL programs were successful when librarian....
Sustaining the Embedded Model

Action Planning

-Modified version of Shumaker, 2010, 13

Offer real services and benefit to the embedded location
Community Needs focused
Recognize that Embedding is very specialized.
this could be an issue to cross training and interoperability of staff


Start early, start now
track the progress of the teams/students with the embedded librarian vs. without
come up with your “Action Plan” for evaluating
Show your worth
this model can be taxing on budget* evaluating and thus displaying worth is imperative
save every positive results

*ARL.org 1991-2012:
# ref transactions down 69%*

Management and other staff is must be kept in the loop
You're off the desk and out of the loop, stay relevant
Balance Embedded Role with other internal staff duties

Action Planning

A little forethought today saves the headache later
Plan your course of action towards evaluation
Engaging the community

Your Embedded community is everything
train towards their needs
foster deep relationships with the community
both micro and macro levels
allow them to guide your engagement
provide them tools and authority

Grass roots
Involve both staff
keep that line of communication
provide support to staff to facilitate your lack of presence
And service community
Be a pillar of the service community
Involvement on a professional level.
You are an Island
stay relevant

Market what you are and can offer
Internal Library
Because of the taxing aspects of this model (specific training, pulling staff and resources from the desk)*
Communicate to your community
needs the relationship to know your worth

It can be argued that staffing a desk with skilled reference librarians with no question is even less fuel efficient. Place staff when and where they are needed.
-Shumaker 2010
Literature rife w/ examples focusing on virtual embeddedness, research teams, and research/composition

1. Lisa Fererer at UCLA. Research Informationist @ UCLA BioMedical Library
- Consolidate data in multiple places/formats. Systems-based information management.
- Systems that serve workflow, not create a new step/interruption
- Info capture & publication of results; adding to scholarly conversation
- Partnering to secure funding for future research w/ room for informationist
"Instead of insisting that the library is the heart of the campus...we must become the circulatory system. We must be the vital flow of knowledge and services that permeates our communities."
-Lankes, 2011, 115.
Proximity to patrons
Customized Services
Self-Motivated Position
Finding the Balance
Every advantage of embedded librarianship can be become a disadvantage.
Embedded librarians develop skills that are difficult to replace
Programs can be difficult to sustain when there are changes in the organization structure, the library, or faculty changes.
Physically at the place the patron needs you
Most information seekers will ask a co-worker or Google before seeking information
Anticipate needs, rather than respond to
Part of a team of collaborators
May impact overall availability of librarians at the desk and budgets
Full breadth of library resources are not at hand
Librarian is not working shoulder to shoulder with library colleagues
Ability to communicate with a high level of shared context (ie. L1 communication vs L0 communication)
Ongoing project support
Partnership with patrons and shared goals
Time consuming to develop shared context for communication
The line between directing and servicing is blurred with a focus on group outcomes
Outcome-based evaluation
Evaluation is rooted in the outcome of the relationship between Librarian and community
Less emphasis on the traditional outcome evaluation
Impact on Academic and Institutional Goals
Are the students succeeding and feeling connection to subject material?
Is there an understanding of the value of information literacy
primarily within faculty
Aligned partner with shared goals
Integral to program success - can be marketed
Develops specialized local knowledge base
Not interchangeable due to specialized knowledge
Individual relationships take time to develop leading to a long learning curve for new hires
Not interchangeable due to specialized knowledge
Individual relationships take time to develop leading to a long learning curve for new hires
How to do it?...
Have conversation sit downs with staff and discuss what's good and what you could do better
Using Mixed Method Assessment
There are benefits to using qualitative and quantitative methods for assessing embedded librarians
Qualitative Results tell you more about how people feel and think.
Designing new instruction
Improving student experience
On the fly spot checks
Quantitative Data are the hard numbers and statistics that can help show the value about the program
To obtain grants and program support
To get buy in from students & faculty
To have a lens to make sense of qualitative results
Aim is to classify features, count them, and construct statistical models in an attempt to explain what is observed.
The results are based on larger sample sizes that are representative of the population.
The research study can usually be replicated or repeated, given its high reliability.
Researcher has a clearly defined research question to which objective answers are sought
Project can be used to generalize concepts more widely, predict future results, or investigate causal relationships
Analyze data like course grades, number of citations in written work, and reference interaction metrics
Assessment Example
Helms, M. M., & Whitesell, M. (2013). Transitioning to the Embedded Librarian Model and Improving the Senior Capstone Business Strategy Course.
Journal Of Academic Librarianship, 39
(5), 401-413. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2013.03.015
Have students fill out a survey
Pull hard numbers from the results
Assess based on program goals and faculty learning objectives
Full transcript