Embedded School Librarian’s Role in Distance Learning

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Embedded Librarian?embedded

The first thought that comes to my mind when I hear the word embedded is about a tick I found behind my dog’s left ear.  When I asked a friend their first impression, they said a wartime journalist.  Being an embedded librarian is not a new concept, but it has new meaning for me as a school librarian since the onset of distance learning and COVID-19.

At first, as a school librarian during the COVID-19 Spring quarantine, I became a weird hybrid of tech-support and social media morale booster. However, as we begin plans for the fall as a combination of online and in-person classes, I contemplate my role. Many college librarians have experience with distance learning. When I was in the college setting about 15 years ago, we were considering how to embed library services into the university’s learning management system. This puzzle is where I find myself today with my school and the adoption of a new learning management system (LMS) following the pandemic.

Embedding in the LMS

We are using the Canvas learning management system. Your school may have subscribed to a new system or may use an existing system in a more active role than before the pandemic to enhance distance learning. There is Schoology and D2L Brightspace and many others. My first goal with embedding was to determine which of my existing library databases would embed into the new LMS. My state’s virtual library provides a significant number of GALE databases, and the representatives are helping me insert resources into the online courses. GALE provides instructions to add the databases in Canvas, Schoology, and many other learning management systems.

I also contacted JSTOR, and this service provides stable URLs for integrating library resources into Canvas and other LMS programs. EBSCO provides both Direct URL Builder and EBSCO Connect. It is worth the effort to reach out to vendors to determine how the library databases connect with the school’s LMS.

Finally, if your administrator will allow a library “course,” I highly recommend this in the Canvas and other systems. The ability to chat, collaborate, and make announcements will be invaluable throughout the year. Here is a link to my Canvas homepage.

Hello, I am the Library Director at The Webb School of Bell Buckle. I use my past experience in college and university libraries to help my current students in school libraries transition into college, career, and life. I am currently the lead Senior Class Adviser for the Capstone Project. I also served at the state level with the Tennessee Association of School Librarians executive board from 2009-2013 and was the TASL president in 2012. I am certified as a Library Information Specialist for PreK-12th grade, have a BS in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations, a BS in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Education and Information Systems and a Masters in Library and Information Science.