Annual IATUL Conference 2017 has ended
Monday, June 19 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
1c: Embedded Librarianship: The Key To Unlocking The Research Potential At The Lupane State University

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When Professor Barbara J. Ford, the former American Library Association President visited Zimbabwe under the invitation of the Zimbabwe Library Association in 2013, she presented the topic of ‘Embedded Libraries’ which was a new topic to all who were present.

Following this lecture, it became clear that the traditional role of the Librarian and had evolved for the better. Digital information is ubiquitous and clients do not have to come to the Library to get information.  E-resources can be obtained from home, in offices, in the student’s halls of residence, restaurants etc.   Library users use desktops, laptops, smart phones and tablets to access all their information needs. The original role of the Librarian of ‘waiting to be asked’ and be responsive has completely made a turn-around as Embedded Librarians become ‘go getters’ of the needs of the academic communities that they serve; they anticipate and are pro-active.

At Lupane State University, our plan is to employ more Subject/Faculty Librarians who will build stronger relationships with both Faculty and students. Eventually, the Subject/Faculty Librarians will transform themselves to Embedded Librarians as they will offer focused, targeted, specialized research and information results which have an analytical approach and which enable the Librarians to be more integrated in the academic community. Our Embedded Librarians will have offices where the Faculty is and not in the Library. A few Subject Librarians would remain in the Library solely for the service if the students. Currently the Library has three (3) Faculty Librarians for the 3 Faculties; namely Agricultural Sciences, Commerce and Humanities and Social Sciences. All the Faculty Librarians have a background of Library qualifications for their undergraduate degrees but for future prospects, we will look for Embedded Librarians who have their first degrees in the subjects their Faculties will be offering; for example, the Embedded Librarian for the Faculty of Commerce must have their first degrees in Management, Marketing or Human Resources Management. This approach for the Embedded Librarian would allow easy creation of building strong relationships with the Faculty and understanding the Faculty’s work and information needs. The Embedded Librarian would share the Faculty’s goals and actively contribute to the achievement of those goals and furthermore become an integral and indispensable member of the Faculty (Shumaker, D. 2009).

The important aspects of the Embedded Librarians is to communicate the value of the Library service through increase research output at LSU, through communication, socializing and collaboration within the Faculty by integrating the LIS programme into the curriculum, through raising the standard of Primary and Secondary Education in the Matabeleland North region by introducing education with technology, use of virtual learning centres and through community engagement in various activities like farming, pottery, small business enterprises that need the University’s expertise.

Being an Embedded Librarian has never been so exciting, moving beyond service and becoming an active partner in the development of academic user needs, adding value to the academics, surrounding communities and enforcing the relevance of the Library, which further strengthens the Librarians’ positions as key players within the University. Great things can only be expected from this Library initiative, hurray!!


Sheila Nomathemba Ndlovu

University Librarian, Lupane State University
Ms. Sheila Nomathemba Ndlovu commenced here career in 1987 at the National Archives of Zimbabwe, initially as a Periodicals Librarian and then later on as a Chief Cataloguer compiling the Zimbabwe National Bibliography. She served at the National Archives from 1987 to 1994. Thereafter... Read More →

Monday June 19, 2017 2:00pm - 2:30pm PDT
D1.03 - 1st floor Free University of Bolzano-Bozen

Attendees (2)