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Distance Learning Students are people, too!: Embed Yourself

Online Library Instruction? Why Not? This LibGuide is a placeholder for presentation materials, helpful tools, software suggestions and more.

Embedded in English II (ENC 1102)

Why an embedded librarian?

  • Students at HCC in distance education courses get no formal library instruction
  • The course instructor initiated conversations with librarian to increase library involvement in courses
  • Students frequently contacted librarian for assistance with the assignments in this course
  • ACRL Standards call for information literacy instruction to all students, regardless of location or mode of course
  • Distance learners indicate they have a preference for dealing with an individual (Markgraf, 2004)

What did that consist of?

  • Collaboration between librarian and instructor
  • Creation of LibGuide for course
  • Online synchronous orientation
  • Recorded orientation
  • Interactions between librarian and students
  • Reminder messages during weeks that assignments were due


Interactions Between Librarian and Students

Type of Communication


Intended Interactions

Library Questions Discussion Board

Discussion board within the Blackboard LMS course environment.  Checked weekly on Friday.

Students post questions that are relevant for the entire class; answers are useful for all.

Course Messaging

Internal course messaging (mail) system.  The messages are accessible only when logged into the Blackboard LMS.

Interactions between students and librarian.  Messages are more private or personal in nature.  Students send librarian messages with questions that are very specific to their research paper or issues they are having.

Instant Message/Chat

Blackboard Instant Message program.  This is downloaded to a user’s computer and runs independently of the Blackboard LMS.  Students are invited to download the widget at the beginning of each term.  When they log in, they see only members of their enrolled courses.

Interactions between students and librarians are synchronous and quick.  The librarian is available during the time she is in her office.  Messages are more private in nature, and often require an immediate answer. 


Students were provided with the librarian’s HCC email address and were encouraged to contact her for assistance and questions.

Students were able to communicate directly with the librarian.  Most communications were personal in nature. 


Students were provided with the librarian’s office telephone number and were encouraged to contact her for assistance and questions.

Students were able to communicate directly with the librarian.  These communications were initiated by students. 

Office visits

Students were provided with the office location information for the librarian. 

Students were welcome to visit the librarian in her office. 

Embedded Librarian Bibliography

Association of College & Research Libraries. (2000). Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Retrieved from

Atlas, M. C., Wallace, D. P., & Van Fleet, C. (2005). Library anxiety in the electronic era, or why won't anybody talk to me anymore? Reference & User Services Quarterly, 44(4), 314-319.

Bartnik, L., Farmer, K., Ireland, A., Murray, L., & Robinson, J. (2010). We will be assimilated: Five experiences in embedded librarianship. Public Services Quarterly, 6(2-3), 150-164.

Bennett, E., & Simning, J. (2010). Embedded librarians and reference traffic: A quantitative analysis. Journal of Library Administration, 50(5/6), 443-457.

Bozeman, D., & Owens, R. (2008). Providing services to online students: Embedded librarians and access to resources. Mississippi Libraries, 72(3), 57-59.

Collard, S., & Tempelman-Kluit, N. (2006). The other way in: Goal-based library content through CMS. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 11(4), 55-68.

Daly, E. (2010). Embedding library resources into learning management systems: A way to reach duke undergrads at their points of need. College & Research Libraries News, 71(4), 208-212.

Dewald, N., Scholz-Crane, A., Booth, A., & Levine, C. (2000). Information literacy at a distance: Instructional design issues. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 26(1), 33.

Dinwiddie, M. (2005). Looking for ways to provide online library services equal to on-campus. Distance Education Report, 9(18), 8-8.

Ferrer-Vinent, I. J., & Carello, C. A. (2008). Embedded library instruction in a first-year biology laboratory course. Science & Technology Libraries, 28(4), 325-351.

Figa, E., Bone, T., & Macpherson, J. R. (2009). Faculty-librarian collaboration for library services in the online classroom: Student evaluation results and recommended practices for implementation. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning, 3(2), 67-102.

Hearn, M. R. (2005). Embedding a librarian in the classroom: An intensive information literacy model. Reference Services Review, 33(2), 219-227.

Hillsborough Community College. (2011f). HCC Factbook 2011. Retrieved from

Jacobs, W. N. (2010). Embedded librarianship is a winning proposition. Education Libraries, 33(2), 3-10.

Kearley, J. P., & Phillips, L. (2004). Embedding library reference services in online courses. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 9(1/2), 65-76.

Kesselman, M. A., & Watstein, S. B. (2009).Creating opportunities: Embedded librarians. Journal of Library Administration, 49(4), 383-400.

Lebowitz, G. (1997). Library services to distant students: An equity issue. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 23, 303-308.

Lillard, L. L., & Dinwiddie, M. (2004). If you build it, they will come, but then what: A look at issues related to using online course software to provide specialized reference services. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 9(3/4), 135-145.

Markgraf, J. S. (2004). Librarian participation in the online classroom. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 9(1/2), 5-19.

Moore, M. G. (1972). Learner autonomy: The second dimension of independent learning. Convergence, 5(2), 76-88.

Moore, M. G. (1989). Editorial: Three types of interaction. American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 1-6.

Oakleaf, Megan J. (2006).  Assessing information literacy skills: A rubric approach. Ph.D. dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States -- North Carolina. Retrieved March 19, 2012, from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text. (Publication No. AAT 3207346).

Shank, J. D., & Dewald, N. H. (2003).Establishing our presence in courseware: Adding library services to the virtual classroom. Information Technology and Libraries, 22(1), 38-43.

York, A. C., & Vance, J. M. (2009).Taking library instruction into the online classroom: Best practices for embedded librarians. Journal of Library Administration, 49(1/2), 197-209.

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2011).The Condition of Education 2011(NCES 2011-033), Table A-43-1 .


Research from Fall 2011

The research question posed for this project was: How do students in a course with an embedded librarian perceive and utilize the librarian and library provided resources?


Pre-survey conducted first two weeks of classes (n=7) to determine student experience with library resources, library catalog, library databases, and internet.

Post-survey conducted last two weeks of course (n=14) to determine whether the embedded librarian increased students' awareness and use of the librarian and library provided resources.

Open-ended responses - 

1. What resources did you use? 

12 students identified library resources by name that were used in their course

4 students identified the librarian as a resource that was used

2. How did the embedded librarian impact your awareness and/or use of the library?

"It greatly impacted my use of the library by allowing me to feel more comfortable asking the librarian for assistance."

"If we had a problem finding something in our search for certain critical analysis of a story we may be writing about, she would point us in the right direction to help us find what we are looking for."

3. How would you improve the embedded librarian project?

Students recommended increasing the amount of communication from the librarian via email, including more demonstration videos for databases, and providing them with more information about the project (the embedded librarian project).

Data Tracking-

Monitored use of resources (LibGuide, Recorded orientation, and all communication means) - compared this with due dates of assignments. Found that the majority of use occurred during the planning, outlining, and writing stages of first essay and during the week that the final essay was due.

Instructor Interview-

Instructor indicated that the students' essays in courses with the embedded librarian were tremendously improved (compared with students in her online sections from previous terms without the embedded librarian).