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Friday, 28th May 2010

Reaching Remote Students: Athens State University's Electronically Embedded Librarian Program

by Susan D. Herring, Robert R. Burkhardt, Jennifer L. Wolfe

From the Article:

In the electronically embedded librarian program at Athens State, specific classes are selected for the service either at the request of the course instructor or the suggestion of the library director or college dean. Classes with a formal research component (a research paper or presentation) are preferred. As classes are identified, a reference librarian is assigned to each one and is designated as a teaching assistant (TA) in the Blackboard package for that class.

As a TA, the librarian has access to the course syllabus, the class list, all assignments and course materials, and all communication tools, and has authority to post materials to the class site.


Lessons learned

After offering the electronically embedded librarian program for over a year, we have learned a number of lessons for making the program successful. These include:

Use different tools to reach different types of learners. Some students are fine with printed instructions; some need the visual presentations or oral explanations that come with video recordings; others need the face-to-face learning environment of the library. The embedded librarian must be prepared to present information in whatever mode is required.

Be ready to use different forms of communication. Some students are happy to post questions to a discussion board, but this type of public forum makes others feel exposed and embarrassed. Be prepared to be contacted in a variety of ways.


Make sure the faculty member supports and encourages student use of the program. Faculty support is a prerequisite for the success of the embedded librarian program. Each faculty member must want the librarian to be involved and must encourage students to make use of him or her.

The librarian will need to negotiate a balance between librarian and instructor regarding preparing and posting materials, contacting students, and determining the level of help to provide.

In addition to these lessons that directly concern the embedded librarian program, this close involvement in courses has made us realize that we need to augment our library Web site with additional instructional offerings, and to enhance information literacy instruction across the curriculum.

Access the Complete Article

Source: ACRL News

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