Last Friday I attended the California Conference on Library Instruction. This one-day conference featured three presentations centered on the theme, “Embedded Librarians: Reaching People Where They Learn.” Cass Kvenild, Distance Learning Librarian at the University of Wyoming, spoke on best practices for embedded librarianship. She explored all the different ways librarians could embed themselves—particularly within the course itself. One of the biggest pointsI took from Cass’s presentation is that it is very important to clearly set expectations with the teaching faculty member that you are working when it comes to the issues such as assignments, grading, and the syllabus. This is definitely a lesson I have learned the hard way.
Joshua Vossler, Information Literacy/Reference Librarian at Coastal Carolina University, gave an incredibly entertaining and energetic presentation on creating instructional videos. He believes that learning is dependent on focused attention; therefore, the instructional videos we create need to be dynamic and humorous. Joshua provided a helpful list of best practices for creating instructional videos, such as “Use anything silly or weird, such as a chicken” and “Videos should be no longer than three minutes.” I highly recommend that you check out his videos here. He has certainly inspired me to brainstorm ways I can infuse more humor into my own instructional video series.
Lastly, Michael Brewer, Team Leader for Instruction Services at the University of Arizona, gave a presentation entitled “The embedded library: How the University of Arizona Libraries are taking it to their users.” Michael described how his library worked with various campus partners to get a library widget embedded in the University’s course management system. Even if a course does not directly contain a library research component, students are linked to subject-specific guides within their course sites. At this point, more statistics need to be gathered and analyzed to determine the number of times the students click the library links. Nevertheless, Brewer believed that this was a successful project that more libraries should pursue.
There are thousands of ways librarians and libraries can be embedded. This coming academic year, our reference librarians are embarking on a project where we plan to embed ourselves where our students are. For example, I’m planning on holding office hours in the building where most of our music courses are taught. Are there any innovative and unusual ways your library is getting embedded?