Supporting Librarians

In a re-cap of a Libraries Rebound event put on by OCLC Research Library Partnership, Jim Michalko briefly mentions that the phrase “embedded librarian” might not be a very good one. He argues that the phrase “enshrines ‘other-ness,'” reinforcing that the librarian is somehow separate. He suggest the phrase liaison librarian instead, but I’m not sure that phrase is any better. I think there is still a separateness implied: the librarian isn’t a key partner, but instead is a middle-man between a researcher and information.

I starting thinking about the role that we want to take on with faculty and with students, and I started to really like the title of Supporting Librarian. Our role is to provide support, both to students who are just beginning to learn about the research process, and to faculty who rely on our collections and our expertise. A Supporting Librarian might work to support a department, a particular course, a particular research project…there are all kinds of ways something like this could be organized. But I think this phrase really highlights the kind of partnerships we are trying to build on our campuses.

What do you think? Do you like being considered an Embedded Librarian or a Liaison? Is there another title that would work to convey the relationships we’re building?

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