Embedded Librarianship – session led by Anna Richards
You need to work to get out of your space and away from the comfort of your computer – can be hard to make the effort.
Being interested in their subject discipline. A librarian for architecture students goes along to their lectures. The architecture library is based in their department so she feels fairly embedded, though she acknowledges that she is lucky it is an interesting subject.
Build a relationship with the students – the architecture librarian goes to their lectures – so they get used to seeing her there and will feel able to engage with her.
One man reported his library has now moved into the town hall – therefore whenever people go in there to e.g. report a crime, the library is there right in front of them.
Ka-Ming has started doing pop-up libraries and drop-ins at her university – by the gates, or in the cafés. One was themed, for example, on e-resources, although only one student showed up.
You need to tease out what they really want, as the presenting need may be different, and it also means you can sell your other services to them.
Visibility – e.g. at internal conferences there will be a presentation by the library.
One librarian reported manually searching for content and adding it to their e-library.
In terms of marketing, you need to be promoting the end product – what students will get out of attending your session: e.g. students switch off when they see the word “library” thinking they know it all and know what librarians are there to do; sell the end product and only mention that it is the library at the end.
Many embedded librarians are part of two teams, e.g. their central team, and they also help other teams with information related stuff. They may sit with a different team, away from all the other information professionals – which is good for visibility and engagement, and so they can be proactive, which is important in a function like this. Laura also pointed out that if you don’t proactively engage, you might as well be at end of a phone.
Finally, one librarian reported giving out slips to the students asking them what they were doing in their PhD; went away and did some research and then got back to them with items, “you might be interested in this”.