Blended Librarianship first emerged as a concept developed by Steven Bell and John Shank in January 2004. In April 2004 Bell and Shank delivered a three-session workshop on Blended Librarianship that was sponsored by the Teaching, Learning and Technology Groupand Association of College & Research Libraries. In November 2005 Bell and Shank appeared on the College of DuPage's Soaring to Excellence teleconference program to discuss Blended Librarianship. With support from the Learning Times Network, the Blended Librarian Online Learning Community also became available in April 2004. As of mid-2012 the community has over 4,900 members. The seminal article on Blended Librarianship, "The Blended Librarian" appeared in the July/August 2004 issue of College & Research Libraries News.
What is a Blended Librarian
Here is how Bell and Shank define it:
- The Blended Librarian first combines the traditional aspects of librarianship with the technology skills of an information technologist, someone skilled with software and hardware. Many librarians already demonstrate sound technology skills of this type. To this mix the Blended Librarian adds the instructional or educational technologist's skills for curriculum design, and the application of technology for student-centered learning. The Blended Librarian is the academic professional who offers the best combination of skills and services to help faculty apply technology for enhanced teaching and learning.
The six principles of Blended Librarianship are
- Taking a leadership position as campus innovators and change agents is critical to the success of delivering library services in today’s “information society”.
- Committing to developing campus-wide information literacy initiatives on our campuses in order to facilitate our ongoing involvement in the teaching and learning process.
- Designing instructional and educational programs and classes to assist patrons in using library services and learning information literacy that is absolutely essential to gaining the necessary skills (trade) and knowledge (profession) for lifelong success.
- Collaborating and engaging in dialogue with instructional technologists and designers which is vital to the development of programs, services and resources needed to facilitate the instructional mission of academic libraries.
- Implementing adaptive, creative, proactive, and innovative change in library instruction can be enhanced by communicating and collaborating with newly created Instructional Technology/Design librarians and existing instructional designers and technologists.
- Transforming our relationship with faculty to emphasize our ability to assist them with integrating information technology and library resources into courses, but adding to that traditional role a new capacity to collaborate on enhancing student learning and outcome assessment in the area of information access, retrieval and integration.
The Blended Librarians Online Learning Community
From the beginning, Bell and Shank decided that Blended Librarianship needed to be more than just a concept. It had to be a working organism through which library practitioners would help each other to improve their knowledge of and ability to apply the theory and practice of instructional design and technology to improve our ability to connect with faculty for the purpose of achieving student learning outcomes. To facilitate this vision, working with Hope Kandel of the Learning Times Network, an online learning workspace was created to provide the necessary learning community. What takes place there is the exchange of information. This takes the form of online chats, webcasted events, the sharing of resources materials, discussion forums, and it facilitates librarians with shared interests and goals connecting with one another. At this time, through the support and generosity of the Learning Times Network, librarians are being invited to join the community at no cost. More information on joining the community is found at the Blended Librarian web site.
The Blended Librarian web site features a page that contains several videos featuring Steven Bell and John Shank discussing Blended Librarianship. Those seeking more introductory information should review this set of brief videos.