In-House Librarian is my de facto new title (in addition to Data Services Librarian). For now, it is still informal, someone used it and it stuck, but it works. So, what’s the story behind the new title? Read on…
The past two years I have been the library liaison to the oldest residential college in NC, the Warren Ashby Residential College (ARC). I volunteered because Ashby is a fun place, and the students are intelligent and engaged. Plus I took classes there when I was an undergraduate and spent countless hours with the Fousters. I was never an official student–I was a commuter and didn’t take the core classes–but it was a home away from my parent’s home many times. The ARC borrows from Oxford and Cambridge where students take classes with each other in the hall where they live. Also, like the U Michigan model, these students participate in the governance of the hall.
So, I became the library liaison when the library started appointing liaisons to student groups. Mostly the liaisons serve as contacts for library services; we send email announcements for game nights, etc. We will also sometimes give presentations. At least this was the mode for the past two years.
Then, ARC got a new director. She wanted to explore ways to intensify the research focus on the college and to provide more in-house support to the students. A few of us from reference had a brainstorming session with her where we came up with some ideas: 1) librarian office hours in the college; 2) training a res college student to be a “first responder” for research needs; and 3) in-house faculty training on info lit principles.
So, I became the In-House Librarian for ARC. The director considers me part of the team, and I have been participating in staff meetings and the orientation events. I will have office hours two hours a week in the early part of the semester with four to five during exam periods. I am going to train an ARC student to be another support person for library services and resources. She won’t be expected to provide research help, but to point students in the right directions. I’ll also be the point person for ARC faculty who want to incorporate library research.
I’m excited about the possibilities for this new role as it is embedded librarianship at its most extreme. I hope the students and even the faculty benefit from it. Plus, it demonstrates a real innovative touch for the library to participate in this. Admittedly I have been a bit worried about the time I will need to spend only on this project. My supervisor gave me a release from some reference desk hours, which will help quite a bit. And everyone in reference has been supportive. We talked about having a rotating cast of librarians for the office hours, but I doubt the students would respond well, especially at a place like ARC where the students are accustomed to working with a small group of faculty. Ultimately though it is a grand experiment–perfect for a place that used to be called the “Experimental College”, and I am thrilled to be doing this.
More to come soon!