Nataly Blas is the 2012-2014 Diversity Resident at the UNCG Libraries. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, with emphasis on Hispanic Marketing, and a Masters of Library Science at Florida State University. While in library school, Nataly worked with Business Librarian Trip Wyckoff on several teaching and collection development projects. She is a member of the 2014 class of ALA Emerging Leaders. [Update on Nataly’s new position in the next post]
As an early career librarian, I am diving into the sea of academia and trying to learn student engagement techniques and how to foster faculty relationships. This semester I had the wonderful opportunity to learn more about these concepts by serving as an embedded librarian for the course BUS 206 Campus Entrepreneurs. I also want to give a very warm thank you to Steve for helping this opportunity come into fruition and for his mentorship throughout the process.
Let’s start with a little background information. Campus Entrepreneurs is a research intensive course at UNC Greensboro that gives students the opportunity to establish a viable business on campus. From a survey I conducted at the beginning of the semester, I discovered that the majority of the class was juniors and seniors, almost all had participated in a library instruction session, not all students were business majors, and nearly 60% stated that they were not very familiar with business databases.
In reviewing literature on embedded librarianship I found that the most valuable outcome of the experience is the ability to form strong relationships with faculty and students. Now that I have concluded my first semester as an embedded librarian, I fully agree with that statement. In attending class every Tuesday and Thursday, I was able to learn students’ names, become familiar with their business ideas, promote the library and its resources, and maintain a rapport with the professor. Below I have outlined five characteristics from my embedded experience:
Being embedded in the business course increased my visibility and helped mitigate communication challenges. During the semester I was able to communicate with students via email, Blackboard, and in-person–opportunities that usually do not exist in one-shot instruction sessions.
Embedded librarians must be flexible and be willing to seize teachable moments that may arise during the semester. I was surprised that students approached me with research questions from their other business courses and often asked general questions about the library.
Being embedded definitely helped me maintain a rapport with the business faculty member. This collaboration helped me form a clearer picture of the research needs of the business school and become familiar with business education trends.
4. Student Engagement
I greatly enjoyed the opportunity for a deeper level of student engagement. I had multiple opportunities to interact with students from the library instruction session to in-class workshops to one-on-one consultations.
5. Stronger Relationships
Again, the opportunity to build strong relationships with faculty and students is definitely the most rewarding aspect of the embedded experience. This relationship forms from constant communication, collaboration, and being part of the students’ research process.