Evaluating an Embedded Program: Increasing Awareness, Expanding Services, and Fulfilling Patron Needs
AbstractIntroduction: Setting: Augusta University (AU), a comprehensive four-year university Nine colleges, an academic health center and over 8000 students. Campuses include the Health Sciences Campus, Undergraduate campus and Partnership Campus at the University of Georgia Three libraries (Greenblatt, Reese and the Partnership medical school) serve students, faculty and hospital staff. In 2012, Library administration, in collaboration with AU librarians, investigated a service model of librarian integration in their customers’ settings called embedded librarianship. Best practices suggested establishing office space for librarians among their designated customer groups. Once “embedded,” the librarian would become a part of customers’ daily activities and provide information support on-demand and in context. While there are descriptions of many facets of embedded librarian service, there is no comprehensive tool evaluating the activities of embedded librarians that can answer the question: how do patrons perceive the value of embedded librarian services? The embedded librarians at Augusta University sought to measure the awareness and perception of the new service model among clinicians, faculty, and students with a survey instrument. A validated instrument will assist in the proper implementation, maintenance, and evolution of an effective embedded service model. Methods: Web-based survey, Likert scale and open-ended questions; Distributed by email in April 2015 using Qualtrics; All Augusta University students, full-time faculty, clinicians, and residents in areas where embedded librarians are assigned; Four colleges, two hospital departments, and one institute. Responses were solicited for four weeks; weekly reminder emails were sent, and the librarians personally encouraged participation from their embedded areas. The survey began by defining “embedded librarian.” Respondents who were unfamiliar with the program and unable to identify a librarian from the group were directed out of the survey. The remaining respondents self-identified as a student, resident, clinician, or faculty member and then were routed to questions specific to their role. Students’ questions related to classwork and use of library resources; faculty questions related to teaching and research; and clinician/resident questions related to patient care and clinical training. Because most faculty also fulfill clinical roles, respondents who identified as faculty or clinician had the opportunity to answer both sets of questions. Results: The survey response rate was 10% with 381 completed forms from 4,408 survey recipients. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of respondents knew that an embedded program existed in their college or institute. 55% had worked with one or more librarians – in this question participants were asked to choose librarians by their picture and name. Of the 45% remaining, we asked why they had not had an opportunity to work with an embedded librarian. Responses indicated 1) Not aware or not known 2) Not doing research yet requiring that level of assistance, 3) have not needed one. The majority of faculty strongly agreed that embedded librarians saved them time and were an integral part of their group. Analysis of locally collected data reveled that a high number of reference transactions occur in person which corresponds with survey results. Additional review of the data reflected an increasing trend toward librarian collaborations on grants, publications, and presentations. Conclusions: The survey suggests that perception - or how our patrons understand our role and value - may be the area needing the most improvement. To gauge perception of the program, the term “embedded librarian” was first clearly defined, then respondents were asked if they were aware that their college or department had an embedded librarian and finally to identify their embedded librarian from a photograph. It is important to note that all recipients of the survey belonged to a college or department with an embedded librarian. Of 381 responses, only 58% indicated that they were aware that their college or department had an embedded librarian, but nearly 74% were able to correctly identify their embedded librarian by photograph. This suggested that the embedded librarians were familiar faces within those colleges but there is a need to provide more education on embedded roles and services.
DescriptionPoster presented at at the Special Library Association Annual Meeting, June 12-14, 2016, Philadelphia, PA
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