Program Session

2 - Experience of Implementing an Embedded Librarian Program

Monday, May 29
1:20 PM - 1:35 PM
Room: 607

Objectives: This paper examines the efforts of one small academic health sciences library to create a role for its embedded librarians within a new physical environment and a new pedagogical initiative. This paper will discuss the first year of activity in the new building.

Methods: In summer 2016, the library moved into a new health sciences building, the design reflecting cultural and pedagogical shifts within the school. Changes to librarian duties and involvement have grown exponentially. Participation in curriculum committees and task forces allowed the librarians to meaningfully network with faculty and staff. Embedded librarians found faculty were open to collaboration. Librarians began initiating changes to respective curriculums to include active learning. For the first time, librarians trained and began facilitating problem-based learning (PBL) groups during the fall semester. New opportunities have included more consultations, collaboration on grants, and invitations to present. Challenges facing the librarians include communication among librarians and library staff in the new environment and the need to find balance for ourselves in lieu of the success and increased requests for our time.


Liaison librarians have been embedded in suites with faculty and administration related to educational and research programs. This increased exposure to faculty led to librarians assisting with NIH compliance, increased requests for mediated searches and opportunities for collaboration in active learning teaching, and research projects.  Those who participated as facilitators in the medical curriculum report that it took longer than expected to prepare, facilitate, and then evaluate their students. The reformatting of several library sessions to incorporate active learning have been well received by students and learning objectives seem to be retained from one session to the next. Technology including webcams and telephone headsets were purchased to allow embedded librarians to fully participate in online meetings. This has increased collaboration and shared duties of liaison librarians.


A great deal of time and effort was spent preparing for the new building and the embedded role of the librarians. Despite what seemed to be thorough planning, there were challenges to overcome including technology, communication, and budgetary issues. Librarians have also enjoyed several successes. PCL facilitation took more time than expected, but was felt to be a rewarding experience.  Overall, the librarians are pleased with increased opportunities to work closely with faculty and students. 

Keywords: embedded librarian, active learning, facilitation

Program Session

Annie C. Nickum

Research and Education Librarian
Library Resources of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Grand Forks, North Dakota

My name is Annie Nickum and I'm a research and education librarian at the University of North Dakota's Library of the Health Sciences. My masters is in library and information science and I have a bachelors of science in nursing. Prior to being a medical librarian, I worked in healthcare - first as a pharamcy technician and then as a registered nurse. Growing up around healthcare (my mother's a radiology technician) and interacting with a WIDE variety of patients really showed me how little the general public knows about health care. Educating patients was my favorite part about working in healthcare. As medical librarian I get to do one better - tell up and coming healthcare professionals about the importance of understanding information and educating their patients. My research interests are information literacy and health literacy.


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Dawn E. Hackman

Research & Education Librarian
Health Sciences Library
Grand Forks, North Dakota


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Marcia J. Francis

Southwest Clinical Campus Librarian
Health Sciences Library
Bismarck, North Dakota

Marcia Francis, M.A., M.Ed., A.H.I.P., Southwest Clinical Campus Librarian, Harley E. French Library of the Health Sciences, University of North Dakota. Ms. Francis assists UND teaching and clinical faculty, residents, students, and staff in the southwest quadrant of North Dakota with their information needs. She also serves as the Outreach Coordinator for her library and participates in health information outreach to health providers and consumers. Ms. Francis is a Distinguished Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals and has been a medical librarian for over 17 years. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Library Science from the University of Arizona and a Master of Education degree in Instructional Technology from Idaho State University.


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Amber Amidon

Northwest Clinical Campus Librarian
Health Sciences Library
Minot, North Dakota


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Kelly Thormodson

Interim Director
Health Sciences Library
Grand Forks, North Dakota

Kelly Thormodson holds the position of Assisstant Director at the Harley E French Library of the Health Sciences at the University of North Dakota. Her MLIS was earned from the University of Iowa and she has worked as a librarian at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Iowa Hardin Library for the Health Sciences. Kelly's major area of interest is health care education and believes the library is not only a place but a partner in the education of our future health care workforce.


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Erika Fisher

Southeast Clinical Campus Librarian
Harley E. French Library of the Health Sciences
Fargo, North Dakota

Erika Fischer, MLIS is a clinical campus librarian for the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences' clinical campus in Fargo, ND. Erika received her MLIS in 2001 and has been an academic librarian since. She worked in a small liberal arts college prior to assuming her position with the medical school.


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2 - Experience of Implementing an Embedded Librarian Program

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