Summer Work Creep Brings up Staffing Issues for Embedded Librarians

I often wonder how other community college libraries handle summer librarian coverage. At the college where I work as the sole full time librarian, there has never been librarian coverage in the summer. Just like the other faculty, the librarian works fall and spring semesters and has the summer off. This has always struck me as odd, considering the library is open during the summer session. In poking around, I’ve discovered that many California community college library administrators refer to standards and legislation to push for librarian coverage during all hours their libraries are open (including summers and evenings).

I enjoy having my summers off; however, I find myself answering emails (from faculty teaching during the summer) and doing other work-related tasks that simply can’t wait until the fall semester. This past year our new “online embedded librarian” program gained popularity and many faculty teaching online during the summer session requested embedded librarians for their summer classes. I realized that it was time to address this lack of summer librarian coverage.

So, this summer I’m getting compensated for some of the work creep. The compensation model we’ve developed breaks down to 3 hours per online section. I’m embedded in 6 online class sections this summer while an adjunct librarian is embedded in 5. The 3 hour per section model seems about right (this includes consulting with faculty, creating instructional content, moderating forums/chats, and assessment). However, it will be interesting to meet with the librarian adjunct to compare notes.

Compensating embedded librarians during the summer session doesn’t address the issue of no librarian coverage in the physical library during the summer…but it’s a step in the right direction.

I’m interested in how other college libraries compensate for online embedded librarian coverage. Anyone want to share?

P.S.: If you’re interested in reading more about my stab at online embedded librarian programming at my small, rural college, click here.

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2 thoughts on “Summer Work Creep Brings up Staffing Issues for Embedded Librarians

  1. When I was offered a nine-month contract this summer after 9 years of full-year employment I turned it down so fast that my Dean’s head spun. Work creep is just a fact of life for anyone on a nine-month contract unless you have amazing limits (one librarian of my acquaintance didn’t check/respond to email or phone messages THE ENTIRE SUMMER) or you can negotiate some sort of summer compensation that makes it worthwhile, which seems rare. Hoping others can tell me it’s not as rare as I think!

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