Embedded Librarian Coming to SNR

Joan Konecky
Joan Konecky

Students may still be learning the ins and outs of accessing databases, journals and other library resources for their field. Faculty may want to know about new or updated databases or library services, or need to discuss data management plans for an upcoming grant proposal. Joan Konecky is experimenting with being an “embedded librarian” at the School of Natural Resources, here to help fine-tune and update our library know-how.

Konecky – pronounced the Czech way, kuh NES kee – a University Libraries associate professor, will hold the equivalent of office hours in the Hardin Hall lobby with a laptop, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9:30-11:30 a.m., starting April 4. She’ll be on hand for students, faculty and staff, to answer any and all library-related questions and to take requests and recommendations.

The embedded librarian approach is based on the idea that collaborating with experts in finding information and resources gives researchers an edge, and that students may benefit from an extra point of contact in learning their way around the university’s library systems. Because researchers and students in the digital era have less need to go to libraries to conduct research, librarians – the information experts – are coming to them.

Stationing a librarian outside big classes is a way to ensure that students get the help they need. Students tend to be apologetic about not knowing how library systems work, Konecky said, probably not realizing that many other students are in the same boat, and that librarians are available to help.

Konecky noted that the University Libraries are adding more and more ebooks, ejournals and databases every year and while some databases, devices and systems are more intuitive than others, they all undergo regular updates and other changes. “As more resources become electronic, once you know how to use them, it’s pretty easy,” Konecky said. “But do you know how to use them? Yes? Great. No? I’m here to help.”

“The library is like a toolbox,” she said. “You can choose to use your three favorite tools, or you can tap into the other ones. And, in some cases, your favorite tool may not be what you really need. You can use a wrench to pound in a nail, but it is easier and more efficient to find and use a real hammer.”