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Monday, June 19 • 11:00am - 11:30am
Taking the mountain to all the Mohammeds: Elements of embedded librarianship at a large university

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The prototypical embedded librarian can be found at a small, often one-person library belonging to a university department or a research institution. But central libraries in large university systems stand to gain from the idea of embedded librarianship.

Three years ago, the library system of the University of Münster underwent considerable structural changes to move from a two-track system to a functional one-track one. The core element of this process was a changeover in the administrative responsibility for the faculty libraries' personnel: they are no longer employees of their respective faculties or institutes, but of the central library, which now is responsible for the management of all 97 faculty libraries. While this helped to improve the libraries' processes and services, it also provided all staff members with more far-ranging opportunities to work in different areas of the library system. Furthermore, it brought a big change for some of the former subject specialists: they became unit managers and are now responsible for the libraries in “their” faculties – they evolved from subject librarians to liaison librarians.

This kind of restructuring – demanding intensive discussions, preparations, effort, and some compromise – is still quite rare for German two-track university libraries. However, the experiences made during these first years of transformation are promising. Alongside several other large-scale and small-scale measures, e.g. for collection development, information literacy, or publications, the librarians were able to build closer ties to their students and scientists, but also to their fellow librarians.

The paper will give an outline of the organisational change process and the outcomes for the library’s subject services.


Viola Voß

Subject and Liasion Librarian, Head of Services for the Libraries of the Faculty of Philologies, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Dr. Viola Voß is subject and liaison librarian for modern humanities and head of services for the libraries of the faculty of philologies at the university library of the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster. Her work focusses on collection management, subject-specific information... Read More →

Monday June 19, 2017 11:00am - 11:30am PDT
Aula Magna - ground floor Free University of Bolzano-Bozen