Embedded Librarianship: A Model for Promoting Sustainability on Campus

By Stephanie Cold and Ellen Urton.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Kansas State University’s K-State Libraries recently adopted a new organizational structure that allows librarians to better meet the needs of interdisciplinary fields of study, such as sustainability. Our librarians are transitioning from a traditional model in which subject librarians were assigned to individual colleges/departments based on subject knowledge to a more flexible approach that enables librarians to move freely across the disciplines. Additionally, we, along with many of our colleagues, practice “embedded librarianship,” a growing movement that encourages librarians to proactively collaborate with faculty and instructors to advance teaching and research goals as well as campus and community initiatives. Academic librarians are in a unique position to support sustainability efforts as both advocates and partners. In addition to a librarian’s traditional role of providing access to resources that support educational goals (collection development, information literacy expertise, etc.), librarians increasingly seek opportunities to leave the library and become more visible partners in classrooms and campus-wide. In this presentation we will outline our involvement in sustainability efforts at Kansas State University as “embedded” librarians, describe our future goals, and provide suggestions for how members of a university community can partner with librarians to further sustainability initiatives.

Keywords: Library, Embedded Librarians, Sustainability, Curriculum, Research, Higher Education, Campus

The International Journal of Sustainability Education, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.13-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 542.377KB).

Stephanie Cold

Undergraduate & Community Services Specialist, K-State Libraries Undergraduate & Community Services Department, Kansas State University, USA

Stephanie Cold is currently the Communications Specialist for the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences, and the College of Business and Economics at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She also works in a contract position for Spiral Natural Foods, a local and organic foods cooperative, in Hastings, Minnesota, as a Marketing Specialist. Stephanie previously was an Undergraduate & Community Services Specialist for K-State Libraries at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in spring of 2010 with a bachelor's degree in English and organizational communication, and completed a graduate certificate in technical writing and professional communication from Kansas State University in 2012. At K-State, Stephanie represented K-State Libraries as a member of the Consortium for Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability (CESAS). She was also active in the community as a member of the Education Committee for People's Grocery, Manhattan's organic foods co-op, where she taught classes related to nutrition and information literacy.

Assoc. Prof. Ellen Urton

Visual Literacy Librarian, K-State Libraries Undergraduate & Community Services Department, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA

Ellen R. Urton is an Associate Professor and an Undergraduate & Community Services Librarian at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. She earned her BA in History and Art History from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL and her Master’s in Library Science from the University of Missouri at Columbia. Prior to the K-State Libraries reorganization Ms. Urton was the Visual Arts Librarian, a subject specialist assigned to the Department of Art, the Apparel, Textiles, & Interior Design Department, and later assumed additional responsibility for liaising with the College of Architecture, Planning & Design at K-State. In her new role in the Undergraduate & Community Services Department, Ms. Urton specializes in supporting undergraduate instruction and reference in the visual and performing arts, explores interdisciplinary interests associated with visual literacy, service learning, and embedded librarianship, and creatively supports campus objectives related to sustainability.