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October 28 Program Report: Embedded Librarians

The Chapter’s program on embedded librarians, hosted by Seyfarth, Shaw with lunch provided by Bloomberg BNA attracted an audience of 23.

Members Barbara Kahn-Aiken and George Peckham-Rooney shared their professional backgrounds, how they became embedded in their organizations and advantages, disadvantages and the future of this arrangement.

After the program, participants shared these comments:

  • Every organization has a need for talents offered by a librarian.  They frequently just don’t know that’s what they need.
  • The librarian skill set is used in many ways, whether in a “library” or as “that person” on a team who just knows things or where to find them.
  • One of the attractions of being an embedded librarian is that you can go deep into the business when you’re an integral part of a particular team/department.  It’s a great way to learn.  (I liked George’s comment about just being a curious person.  I think that strikes a chord with all librarians.)
  • Having a complement of embedded librarians along with a more centralized library enhances the knowledge sharing across an organization.
  • A special conscious effort may be needed when embedded to keep in touch/get together/share with other librarians within the organization.
  • Most of the time, I’m working at one of my 6-7 client sites and not in the Cadence Group offices, and I wouldn’t consider myself embedded at any of the current clients. But now, after [the program] and surprising to myself, I guess that functionally I am actually embedded at Cadence. My Cadence colleagues responsible for marketing, sales, staffing, consulting, records management and social media pull me in for research assistance and a librarian’s input on “library services” components of proposals, RFP (request for proposal) responses, interviewing, blogs, etc. And I’m regularly running across and forwarding articles/surveys and association or webinar announcements to fellow Cadence folks in Records Management or IT or Administration. It’s rewarding and gratifying to have a librarian’s special skills/insights recognized and sought after by the larger organization!
  • George said that the job position he applied for at Seyfarth, Shaw was not for a librarian, it was for a data analyst (I think analyst was the word he used).  He saw how his cataloging skills would make him a fit for this position involving organizing information in a database.  This suggests that librarians need to “think outside the box” when searching for jobs.  It reminded me of a conversation I had in the 1980’s with the then director of the Emory library school program.  He talked about how librarians needed to be creative in looking for jobs and look outside the traditional positions to see where their skills could fit into non-traditional roles.  Things haven’t changed much in 30 plus years!


Thanks again to Barbara and George for sharing their insights with us which generated many questions and comments at the meeting and continued with the above observations. Thanks also to those who attended the program, especially Julie Schein who suggested this topic!

For those who could not attend, Barbara’s and George’s slides can be found at these links.



And last but not least, the Chapter sends a special shout out to Patrick Riendeau and Charlotte Brathwaite of Bloomberg BNA for sponsoring lunch.

Event photos are at:

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