Becoming an Embedded Librarian: Making Connections in the Classroom. By Michelle Reale. Chicago: ALA, 2016. 128 p. Paper $54.00 (ISBN: 978-0-8389-1367-3).

Reale opens her thin volume with a look at how librarianship has changed, expressing frustration about continued stereotypes of librarians on the sidelines waiting to serve. She defines “embedded librarianship,” narrowing the focus of her study specifically to librarians physically embedded within a classroom, working equally and collaboratively with the subject area professor. Subsequent chapters discuss the value of attending classes as the place where learning actually happens, collaborating with professors and students, and shifting the focus from a passive support role to an active participant in scholarship within the “laboratory” of the classroom. Later chapters provide guidelines for librarians who wish to implement the embedded model, making suggestions for how to establish one’s role and brand, create a teaching style, identify tools, and set goals.

Throughout the text, Reale continuously addresses the need for more robust collaboration between faculty and librarians to meet the needs of students who, in spite of their technology skills, are overwhelmed with information and uncertain about how to find and use it. She also emphasizes the Burkean view of scholarship as conversation and the need for all researchers, especially students, to see research and inquiry as a process rather than merely a product. These areas of focus closely mirror the new ACRL standards for information literacy and draw upon research on metacognition and the construction of information.

Reale’s personal focus is both a liability and an asset in this text. Because of its singular focus, the book doesn’t offer the detailed structure and theoretical aspects that other works offer. Also, some of the techniques and insights are too personal to translate directly to a larger population. The author admits to being “more embedded” than her immediate colleagues. However, rather than presenting another how-to book, Reale offers a view of her own process of “becoming,” with a personal focus that provides a voice of experience in a warm, engaging look at how one person can make significant and beneficial changes.—Donna Church, Reference Librarian, Emmerson Library, St. Louis, Missouri


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