Thursday, August 12, 2010

IFLA report: Embedding in the 21st Century Academy

This report on a talk by Kaijsa Calkins and Cassandra Kvenild yesterday continues blog posts from the 76th IFLA General Conference and Assembly, held 10-15 August 2010, in Gothenburg, Sweden. The conference site is at There is a podcast of this talk here, courtesy of Niels Damgaard. The full text of the paper is:
Kaijsa Calkins and Cassandra Kvenild (University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, USA) Embedding in the 21st Century Academy: crossing curriculum and geography

The speakers started by quoting Shumaker and Tyler (2007) who said that "Whether it is physical or virtual, meeting the needs of the user at the point of need wherever that may be is critical to the embedded librarian service model." They also wanted to emphasise the access entitlement principle: especially important as 25% of their students are distance learners. Their concern was taking the “point of reference” away from the library website, and instead bring it to users by having it in online coures, facebook etc. They had also decided to make document delivery free and accessible, whether the recipient was in the in library building or remote.
They had experimented with onsite reference in academic Departments, but found that students actually didn’t mind coming to the library. Instead, the librarians have partnered with the writing centre, so they can support students who need help in writing essays.
They also do embedded teaching; they do collaborate in IL teaching, but there is a limit to what they can do, so they concentrate on identifying sticking points for students and redeveloping IL teaching.
As regards online tutorials, the speakers found that embedding themselves in discussion boards of online subject courses has been effective in meeting students’ questions and needs. However you DO need to limit time you soend on it e.g. just going in for a week a two at a critical time for the students. Cass said that she took a strategic approach, targeting courses with a strong IL element.
The final thing is embedding IL in the curriculum (curriculum collaboration). They were able to get IL added as graduation requirement. Library has created two for-credit courses, and, more largely, have assisted in academics’ developing courses to include IL.
Also have got inolved in school/ university collaboration in Wyoming: many students stay in Wyoming through school to university, so there is strong link that can be used to improve transition from school to college.
As regards assessment (ie evaluation): they are getting some feedback from ongoing review, and they also identified that they needed to do better marketing of servvices for those academics who aren’t collaborating already. They do an analysis of student citation practice and are using the national student satisfaction survey and any other data to get view of how they are doing.
They have a book coming out shortly but I culdn't track down the details quickly, I'll post it when I do.
Reference (taken from their paper) Shumaker, D., & Tyler, L. (2007). "Embedded library services: Initial inquiry into practices for their development, management, and delivery." Contributed paper, Special Libraries Association Annual Conference.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Harbour, Gothenburg, August 2010

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