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Using a Blackboard Repository to Disseminate Resources and Collaborate in an Embedded Librarian Program

Erie Community College


With the increasing demand for virtual library instructional support, the Embedded Librarian program has seen exponential growth during the past few academic years. In order to facilitate an efficient and sustainable model, librarians created a Blackboard “course” to store, share, and embed videos, LibWizard tutorials, handouts, and other course content. This content is created and shared by librarians in a format that can be easily copied into other courses. This gives librarians who are new to the embedded model and librarians who are new to specific courses a foundation of content to build upon and has allowed the library’s embedded support to grow in an organized and cohesive way.

The Embedded program started to facilitate better library service to students via online classes and Blackboard and to engage with faculty partners. The relationship between instructor and librarian is a partnership. Within Blackboard, the librarian has many of the same rights as the instructor. This means that the librarian can build, edit, copy and delete content in the form of files, pages, links, etc. The program was initially targeted to support English courses but has grown to include research-based courses in OT, Dietetic Technology, Medical Assisting and more. As exciting as the growth was, it also presented challenges with sustainability and efficiency as courses increased and staffing remained stagnant. Growth required many librarians to be embedded in 10+ courses in a semester. At our institution, courses and Librarians that stretched across three distinct campuses created issues with communication, consistency, and duplication of efforts. In order to sustain the growth and provide less experienced librarians with assistance a centralized location for resources was created.

The Embedded Librarian repository was created by Librarians Jewel De La Rosa and Jacqueline Coffey Scott and required collaboration and support from Embedded Librarians at each campus. The repository is set up within a shell Blackboard course to allow content to be easily copied from the repository by librarians embedded in Blackboard courses. All librarians have access to the items in the repository, but the content is created and maintained by librarians who have experience being embedded in specific classes. The repository is organized by subject and then further broken down into specific classes. The subject areas were decided upon based on departments with a history of utilizing the embedded librarian program. Any class with a history of requesting an embedded librarian was included under the subject area. Once a librarian with experience being embedded in a particular class was identified, they were charged with copying and pasting their content from previous classes into the repository.

Many different types of content and media are contained within the repository. Text and links are common and often relate to information sharing about the role of the embedded librarian, the librarian's availability, and contact information. It is also common to include links to the library's homepage, research guides, and other popular links such as citation guides, research guides, video tutorials and Libwizard tutorials. Please visit the following presentation link to view a walk through of the repository:

Additional Metrics:

Embedded Librarians statistics highlight the growth of the program. This growth would not be sustainable without the repository. Librarians were embedded in 26 classes in Fall 2019. The pandemic brought this number to its peak at 83 courses in Fall 2020. When classes resumed in person in Fall 2021 our embedded classes were at 63 suggesting the value of this program and the efficiency of this model.

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