Archive | June, 2016

Trust – What is it and how do you build trusted relationships?

A quick search indicates that it’s been several years since I’ve mentioned Trust in this blog, and that the past mentions have been rather oblique. That’s an omission I shall now proceed to rectify!

Building trusted relationships is central to embedded librarianship. The word trust is an excellent way to characterize the way that embedded librarians interact with other team members. So what is trust, and how do you go about establishing it?

A paper from the recent Special Libraries Association conference does a great job of introducing the concept and providing some guidelines. The paper is “Trusted Librarian: Service Model Offers Best Practices for New Subject Librarians”, by Tina P. Franks, of The Ohio State University. It’s available currently from OSU’s “Knowledge Bank” institutional repository, url = . Apparently it’s slated for future publication in Practical Academic Librarianship, the journal of the SLA Academic Division.

While it’s not specifically about embedded librarianship, practically everything in the article is directly relevant. In fact, I’d venture to say that any librarian who follows Franks’ principles will end up embedded. She highlights the interplay of librarians’ professional expertise and relationship-building skills, pointing out that “you need to earn trust before users will value your subject expertise”, and emphasizes the difference between the transactional nature of traditional library reference service and the relationship orientation required to build trust (and be an embedded librarian).

If you’re looking for some ideas to kick your relationship-building skills to the next level, or just a refresher on the nature of trust, this may be just the resource for you.

David Shumaker

From blog post “Trust” on the Embedded Librarian blog

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Update: Termination of Embedded Librarians Caucus email list

Good news!

We’ve received notice that SLA has delayed termination of email lists to August 1, and also changed the policy for SLA Connect communities to permit SLA members to have access to communities they aren’t official members of. Unit leaders have to make some decisions about how their units will implement the policy. I’ll send out more updates as we get into the decisions and implementation.

–Dave Shumaker

Caucus Convenor


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Termination of Embedded Librarians Caucus email list

As you may know, the Embedded Librarians Caucus email list, along with all other email lists hosted by SLA, will cease to operate on July 1.

It is being replaced by the Embedded Librarians community on SLA Connect, the Association’s new messaging and collaboration platform. SLA Connect has the capability to push messages out to subscribers’ email, which functions much like the listserv software.

The catch is that you must be a paid-up member of the Caucus in order to participate in the SLA Connect community. As currently configured, SLA Connect does not allow non-Caucus members to subscribe to our Caucus. This applies both to SLA members who are not Caucus members, and to non-SLA members.

If you are a Caucus member, you should have received a message from me, sent from SLA Connect, yesterday or earlier today. If you didn’t receive that message, and believe you should be listed as a member, you should contact Natasha Kenner at SLA, , who can check your membership status.

I have asked SLA to reconsider the current policy, and permit us to include non-members in our Connect community. While I’d like to have everyone join the Caucus and support us officially, I recognize there are a number of reasons why someone might want to receive our messages without joining, and I think we should be flexible enough to permit that.

While we await further developments, if you aren’t a caucus member, you still have a couple ways to keep in touch with us:

  1. This website  ( is not affected by the change. We’ll continue to post updates here; you can subscribe to receive notifications of new posts by entering your email address under the Subscribe to Blog via Email heading in the right sidebar.
  2. Our Twitter account will also continue as before. Follow us @SLAEmbedded

Please let me know if you have any questions about all of this. Thanks for your continued support of the Caucus!

–Dave Shumaker

Caucus Convenor

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Caucus Meeting Minutes

SLA Embedded Librarians Caucus

Annual Meeting May 24, 2016


1. The virtual meeting was opened by caucus convenor Dave Shumaker at 3:01 p.m. US Eastern time, with approximately 20 members in attendance. He announced that the meeting would be recorded in order to help compile minutes, and acknowledged the contributions of the Communications Team over the past year.

2. Year timeline: Dave reviewed highlights of the past year, including programs and activities, gradual growth in membership. Currently, membership stands at 88.

3. Communications update: Communications team members Laura Williams and Nadine Anderson reviewed communications activities. Laura appealed for volunteers to contribute posters, be interviewed for the website, and write up reports from the SLA Annual Conference. Nadine reminded everyone that our Twitter handle is @slaembedded and hashtag #embeddedlib and encouraged followers and tweeters to join in.

4. Finance and Organization: Dave reviewed the fact that the caucus, in line with SLA guidelines, has no money of its own, and doesn’t have any mandated officers other than the Caucus Convenor. He mentioned that we should be thinking about succession planning. He will continue to serve for the coming year, but he doesn’t intend to be Convenor for life.

There was also discussion of whether the caucus should aim to become a division. The consensus was that we should not do that, at least at the present time. In ensuing discussion of membership and growth, Marydee Ojala suggested creating whitepaper on the caucus website explaining what is embedded librarian. In further discussion, it was suggested to have additional papers on embedded librarians in different sectors.

5. SLA 2017 Program Planning: Dave currently serving as de facto program planner. He appealed for anyone who is interested to take over the job or work with him.

6. Program and Activity Initiatives

Current program ideas:

  • Organization/reporting structures that embedded librarians experience and the associated challenges.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of embedded librarianship
  • Prospering over the long haul: lessons learned from veteran embedded librarians

Other ideas were suggested, including:

  • Ruth Kneale’s experiences in close to 20 years of being an embedded librarian in engineering teams, either as webinar or interview
  • Michael Gelman – how embedded librarians can “sell themselves” as consultants
  • Tara Breton: embedded librarian panel held at Pharma Division meeting in April 2016 (, unfortunately slides are not available; discussion of promotional strategies in the corporate sector
  • Teresa Powell: budget and funding models – corporate setting may require funding librarians work from group(s) librarian is embedded with.

6. Wrapup

Anyone with questions, comments, or who would like to volunteer: contact Dave at or his personal email. Reminder of Caucus session Monday June 13 10 a.m. in Phila. Dave closed the meeting at 3:51 p.m. (US Eastern time)

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