embedded librarianship

ALA Midwinter Day 1

Tomorrow my Council experience begins in earnest with new Councilor orientation at 8:00 in the morning, but I wanted to share a bit of my first day.

Today will probably be the least rigorous day that I spend at ALA Midwinter. After a quick breakfast at Reading Terminal Market, I made my way to the Unconference. I was a little late to the discussion, but I was able to participate in the group talking about embedded librarianship. I was struck by the different definitions of embedded librarianship. At Somerset Community College, where I work, we have defined embedded librarianship as purely a way to bring library instruction to our online students. Others at the table talked about embedding library services into their surrounding communities. One example that I found particularly interesting was from a librarian in Pittsburgh who spoke about a program her library has with the county jail.

We also discussed how departmental liaisons can help an embedded librarianship program in the academic library. One person suggested bringing food to faculty to open the conversation (something I have also done!). What our group ultimately concluded was that despite the differences in how different types of libraries work, becoming embedded in a class, community, or organization is all about relationships. It takes conversations, asking for things, and just getting to know people to have successful embedded programs. This has certainly been my experience, and it sounded like it was the experience of others in our group.

The Unconference was a great way to start out my first ALA meeting experience. I’m curious if other Kentucky librarians have found other ways to promote and create embedded librarianship programs. What has worked for you? Would you agree that relationships are key to embedding?