James E. Brooks Library Redefines the Librarian

Written by: Robyn Stewart

Librarians aren’t just for libraries anymore. The James E. Brooks Library has decided to implement an embedded librarianship program to give students and faculty more access to resources.

Under embedded librarianship, librarians are no longer tethered to the reference desk. The program allows librarians to travel to the classroom to assist students and faculty with research. While in the classroom, librarians are an active presence by participating in discussion and influencing critical thinking.

Librarians also have the ability to bring their resources to students and faculty virtually. Embedded librarianship allows librarians to exist online. The program allows librarians to continue to be a valuable resource on campus from any location. For example, embedding a librarian in an online class allows them to answer questions and provide relevant sources. They can also coach faculty as to which resources would be most helpful for a course’s curriculum. Librarians can also take part in open online forums to answer students’ questions and give research advice. Overall, the embedded librarian is more readily available for assistance.

Librarians working from the library have more freedom as well. They are able to work on-call from their offices versus being confined to the reference desk. This allows the elimination of the reference desk and consolidates service into one convenient location. On-call librarians are able to work more efficiently during their on-call times. They still perform regular duties, but are able to do so from within the library. Only when needed for reference will librarians be summoned to the desk.

Embedded librarianship allows librarians to become a part of the education process versus being in the background providing support. This program has been successfully implemented on many college campuses and more are expected to follow suit. Central Washington University and the James E. Brooks Library are excited for these changes to come.

For more information on embedded librarianship please visit http://www.aallnet.org/main-menu/Publications/products/aall-ilta-white-paper/embedded.pdf

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