In his landmark work regarding embedded librarianship, David Shumaker (The Embedded Librarian) has identified an emerging model for special librarianship, one based on a central corporate library or information center that has one or more of its librarians “embedded” in – and working as part of – operational units rather than being located in the library.
However, a related but as yet fairly undefined career path is also evolving, one where librarians who were staff in an existing corporate library are moved into embedded information positions when the corporate library is dissolved. In this case, the librarian is essentially “untethered” from any internal library facility (or resources), creating a very different working dynamic.
As part of the work being done by the SLA Core Competencies committee, we are trying to gather more information about what, for lack of a better term, I’ll call “embedded information professionals.” You might be an EIP as the result of your corporate library’s downsizing, or you may be working as an EIP because that was the nature of the job you applied for (that is, you were never part of an organization’s library, whether or not one existed).
Most of these roles involve research and/or information management at the department level, where you are a member of the operational team and equally committed to its performance goals.
From an LIS career standpoint, I believe this type of professional role could be a very rewarding one for those with information skills, and am hoping to learn more from those who are already in these situations. What is your title? How did you end up in your current role? Were you part of a disbanded information center, or did you answer a job ad for an EIP-type position? What are your job responsibilities? How would you recommend other LIS professionals find jobs like yours? Have there been areas where you needed to enhance your skills in order to most effectively contribute to the team? Are there courses that MLIS grad programs could be offering that would help prepare their graduates to step into these roles?
If you’re comfortable sharing your information, please feel free to leave comments here or e-mail me directly via the contact form on this blog.