Meeting the masses.

Signing and Learning

I had the pleasure of signing copies of The Embedded Librarian for purchasers at the Special Libraries Association Conference.  And while it was truly a pleasure, it was even more, because it was also a great learning opportunity.

The pace was perfect. I was busy almost continuously for the entire 45 minutes, but it wasn’t rushed. There wasn’t a line of people waiting so I had a chance to talk with everyone who approached – and that’s how I learned so much.

For example, there was a librarian for a major entertainment company, looking at the embedded model as a way to take a successful library operation to the next level of value … and the research institute library manager who needs to assess the readiness of the institute – both librarians and information users – in order to develop a strategy for piloting the embedded model. I talked with a law firm librarian embedded with a practice group of the firm about how her work is evaluated (it’s not, in any regular, formal way), and with the library director of a medical research institute who felt her librarians’ embedded relationships could be made stronger than they are now.

Each one of these librarians gave me new insights. They reinforced my belief that embedded librarianship has to be tailored to the organizational context and culture. However, the more stories we share, the better the chance that someone else’s experience will give us clues about what to do in our own situation. I’ve tried to share as many stories as I could in the book, and I hope to go on sharing them in the Embedded Librarian blog.

About Dave Shumaker

David Shumaker has served as clinical associate professor at the School of Library and Information Science, Catholic University of America, since August 2006. Dave’s teaching interests include the present and future roles of librarians in society, the management of libraries and information services, marketing, information systems, and library public services. His research and writing explore the changing roles of librarians in organizations of all types. He and his co-investigator, Mary Talley, were awarded the 2007 Special Libraries Association (SLA) Research Grant for their project, Models of Embedded Librarianship. Project documentation is available on the SLA website, and related articles have been published in Library Journal, Reference & User Services Quarterly, and Information Outlook. Dave is a frequent speaker and panelist on embedded librarianship.