Embedding and Mapping the Futures at CUNY

(Déjà vu? This is a very slight reworking of a post from the Futures Initiative blog.)

Mapping the Futures of Higher Education has an embedded librarian for its first course. This direct relationship with the Graduate Center library ensures that students in the course will have direct access to library resources. Although all graduate students at the GC do indeed have direct access, an embedded librarian provides a ensured direct link to the library and its resources for the duration of the course. As geography/ placement/location often informs access, the embedded librarian will act as a co-teaching and service entity, sitting side-by-side students and professors, jumping in when necessary, adding tips and recommendations to resources already available at the library and beyond CUNY.

What is an Embedded Librarian?

One potential visualization of an embedded librarian in the classroom, is lots of floating parts, no longer static, multiple resources being applied at once. The featured image by masha krasnova-shabaeva explains it well.

Image: the_classroom (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) masha krasnova-shabaeva https://flic.kr/p/bW9FyY

Image: the_classroom (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) masha krasnova-shabaeva https://flic.kr/p/bW9FyY

The etymology for “embed” is according to the library’s electronic subscription to the OED states, [en- prefix1, in- prefix1 + bed n.], or “in-bed,” although, now Embed is now the more common form. Although the term implies a bed in which to lay, and the act of being within, it’s origins assume an affixed state. The modern day embed is similar to that of the source code for uploading media onto a website. If one finds a youtube video that they’d like to feature on their website, for example, the embed code will allow the video to be hosted on the youtube’s server, but viewable on the personal site. An embed ensures that the host capabilities are present and accessible to the front-facing platform. This current use of the term is synonymous with its original purpose of the concept of affixing an object, or attaching. For the Mapping the Futures course, the librarian will embed, and affix herself to the course.

Embed in librarianship is related to librarian and faculty relationships, ensuring that a librarian is affixed or attached to a faculty’s course. An “embedded librarian” finds placement within the course for however the professor and students requires, usually based on the needs of the course syllabus and level of student and library engagement. Each embedded librarian relationship appears differently.The November 2014 Special Issue of DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal publishing library and information professionals on related issues, includes 4 papers on the theme ‘Embedded Librarianship.’ Seeing the article titles and reading the abstracts will offer insight to the world of libraries and our interactions with faculty.

How does an Embedded Librarian work within the CUNY model?

Googlemap embed on the CUNY website. Click for live map: http://www.cuny.edu/about/colleges.html

Googlemap embed on the CUNY website. Click for live map:

The CUNY model, as the largest public university of its kind in the country, is ideal for embedded librarianship. Many campuses engage in this model for their instruction programs on the undergraduate level. The Library Information Literacy Advisory Committee (LILAC) is the library faculty committee formed to promote the integration of information literacy across the City University of New York, charged by the Council of Chief Librarians and the University Librarian. LILAC hosts its’ website on the CUNY Commons for increased access to projects in-formation. The Graduate Center representative on the LILAC committee, Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz, is the embedded librarian for the Mapping the Futures course.

Shawn, the Mapping the Futures embedded librarian, presented, “Teaching & Assessing Information Literacy for grad students at the From Stale to Stellar 2014 annual LILAC spring event, where she discussed the relationship of CUNY graduate students as adjunct instructors at other CUNY campuses, and how this relationship to libraries at GC and across CUNY was an integral component of adequate information literacy for students across New York City. Shawn was also, alongside Chief Librarian, Polly Thisthlethwaite, embedded in the JustPublics@365‘s Participatory Open Online Course or POOC: Reassessing Inequality & Reimagining the 21st Century: East Harlem Focus in Spring 2014, working with Professor Jessie Daniels to create open access reading materials for an international student audience. Remaining within the CUNY landscape, however, as doctoral and masters students furnish classrooms throughout CUNY as students and professors, LILAC and other CUNY librarians envision the CUNY model as a network of students and faculty interconnected among the boroughs.

Mapping the Futures of Higher Education Student Map 

Student Map of NYC for the first Mapping the Futures of Higher Education Spring Course Maps points of nine campuses where enrolled GC doctoral and masters students will teach across CUNY

Student Map of NYC for the first Mapping the Futures of Higher Education Spring Course Maps points of nine campuses where enrolled GC doctoral and masters students will teach across CUNY – see more: http://futures.gc.cuny.edu/resources/student-map-nyc/

The Mapping the Futures course will hold students teaching across nine campuses, across multiple disciplines of the eleven senior colleges, seven community colleges, The Macaulay Honors College and five graduate and professional schools, located throughout the city’s five boroughs. The Student Map of NYC is the first geo-spatial representation of the live course. The course is using MapsMarker, a wordpress plug-in using Leaflet, an open-source JavaScript library for mobile-friendly interactive maps.

As the embedded librarian continues to work with students of the Mapping the Futures course, she will offer dedicated appointment hours, resources to libraries and librarians across CUNY, specifically at campuses for which courses are being taught, with hands-on, one-on-one instruction for resources needed for the course. These nine campuses equal over 400 librarians total, all of whom will continue to form the mapped network of higher education.

About the Author

Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz is an Assistant Professor and Head of Reference at the Graduate Center Library.