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Embedded Librarian: Embedded Librarian

This guide is aimed at teachers who wants to learn more on what an embedded librarian has to offer.

What is an Embedded Librarian?

Embedded Librarians are librarians who work with your online class to help your students locate, evaluate & effectively use the information resources that will make them successful in your class; these are the skills commonly referred to as information literacy skills.

The Embedded Librarian works closely with faculty, incorporating research and library support in any course. It is like bringing library directly into your Canvas classroom environment.

Embedded Librarians provide Information Literacy (IL) assistance in the classes embedded. Embedded librarians post information literacy information and activities which builds the ability within the students to recognize a need for information and to find, analyze, and synthesize material from books, article, websites and more. For students, it often means the ability to begin with the requirements for an assignment and write a relevant research question; find materials in any medium that answer the question; analyze their accuracy, currency, and use the materials to create a paper that’s complete with citations and other scholarly requirements.

Students who receive information literacy instruction enjoy several benefits. A 2017 survey of 42,000 students in more than 1,700 courses at 12 major research universities* showed that:

  • Retention rates were higher for students whose courses included IL instruction.
  • The average first-year GPA for students whose courses included IL instruction was higher than for other students.
  • Students who took IL instruction successfully completed 1.8 more credit hours per year than students who did not.

There are also benefits for instructors when students are more prepared for research assignments and have strong information literacy skills.

*Greater Western Library Alliance (2017). “The Impact of Information Literacy Instruction on Student Success: A Multi-Institutional Investigation and Analysis.”

In a typical course (either online or hybrid or face-to-face course), an Embedded Librarian will have a module either named as "Library Resources" or "Information literacy/station" which will have links to various LibGuides, library catalog, library search tools such as "Search Everything" and short videos (such as Information literacy videos explaining library resources) which will help students to better prepare for their assignments and exams.

For more information about embedding a librarian in your course, please fill out our Embedded Librarian Request Form.

Embedded Librarian Services

Any class that has a Canvas presence can take advantage of adding an Embedded Librarian. The Embedded Librarian works with the course instructor to understand when and where the students will benefit from librarian assistance and provide the appropriate information/direction to the students within their Canvas environment. The Embedded Librarian will get in touch with the instructor before the class begins to discuss course specific requirements to design and upload course support materials to fit course needs.


- Point-of-need research and library help from a dedicated librarian with Canvas.

- Librarian-created Research Guides (LibGuides) with links that are tailored to each course/assignment (here is an example of a Research Guide).

For more information about embedding a librarian in your course, please fill out our Embedded Librarian Request Form.

Why do I need an Embedded Librarian?

Embedded Librarians facilitate student research and the use of library resources during a course or just when needed. NWACC librarians can facilitate in the following:

  • Create specially designed content for online courses, including suggested resources, tutorials, search strategies and LibGuides;
  • Demonstrate (using screen cast videos) search strategies; 
  • Serve as a contact regarding library or research questions;
  • Provide assistance in proper citations (how to cite in different styles and how to cite different sources);
  • Offer individual attention to students during any stage of their research process.

How do I request an Embedded Librarian

You can request for an Embedded Librarian for your course by filling this form.

The important thing that librarians need from instructors is promotion of the library and its resources. Announcing that a librarian will be a part of the class and be available for questions is a great first step. If students are struggling with research, remind them that a librarian is available to help. The more importance that is placed on library resources, the more students are likely to use them!