May 21, 2008

Embedded, for Better or Worse

Has being an embedded or solo librarian got you down? Try using your natural personality and characteristics to enrich your performance. I find that so much of how to do this job comes from how I can do it differently from how anyone else would do it. Not better or worse, but it's a strange phenomenon to be a librarian sans library, so figure out what it will mean for you and be that.

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting many young librarians, some of them solo and/or embedded, at DC-SLA's new member reception. We compared notes on what it means to be embedded with the content people but not be one ourselves, and on the challenge of getting to know each staff member's individual needs to be able to deliver appropriate results. Although it is cliche, it is always good to remember that one size does not fit all, and probably never will.

I imagine there is another way to do the job I am doing, but the longer I stay and the better I fit, I find it hard to imagine doing another job quite so well. The likelihood of there being a better fit for me is waning. And while I know that lunchtime euchre and practical jokes are not in my job description, I cannot imagine doing this job quite so well without those daily opportunities to enrich office relationships.

Take advantage of outreach opportunities - however informal - so you can be YOU where you are, and in so doing, hone the most important skill you bring to your job. As Andrew Pace posted yesterday, "Knowing others well has always served me better than being well known." And smile!

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