In response to the explosion of courses offered online, academic libraries have developed the Embedded Librarian model.
What is an “Embedded Librarian”?
Basically, embedded librarians do the same things our instruction librarians would do if your class was meeting in a physical classroom, but with a twist. Early in the semester, your embedded librarian will post a brief multimedia “lecture” introducing students to the ins and outs of research in the subject areas covered in your course. Students will also be directed to the library tutorials to do some practice searching and to become familiar with the tools they’ll be using throughout the semester. In addition, your librarian will be available on the class discussion boards throughout the semester, mostly “lurking” in the background, but occasionally speaking up to mention a useful source or to answer any research-related questions that students have.
Have Embedded Librarian services shown results in improving students’ research skills?
While this service is relatively new for academic libraries (the first mention in the professional literature is from 2004), and there have been few studies evaluating students’ information literacy skills, anecdotal reports and case studies from librarians and faculty members suggest that an embedded librarian will increase your online students’ understanding and use of library resources and give them the tools they need to find and use quality information. If you would like to know more about other universities’ experiences with Embedded Librarian services, contact Sarah Clark for a bibliography of recent articles on the subject.
Will this mean extra work for me?
Aside from an email or two, no! After requesting an embedded librarian for your upcoming class, your assigned librarian will contact you to find out more about your class and the research assignments that will be involved. In addition, let us know of any technologies, resources, or issues that you would like emphasized by your librarian in her lecture, or if you would like the librarian to create a credit or non-credit assignment in research skills and evaluating sources. After that initial conversation, your librarian will contact the Center for Teaching and Learning to be added to your WebCT course as a Teaching Assistant, and your librarian will send you any file(s) to be posted, such as lectures and assignments. Your librarian will log on daily to monitor discussion postings, and will respond on her own as appropriate. Of course, if you have questions or suggestions, please call or email any time!
If this service sounds like it could be helpful to you and your students, scheduling an embedded librarian for your course by contacting Kaitlin Crotty, Access Services and Distance Learning Librarian.