On a recent break from work at my library, I walked down to the local cafe to get my daily summer iced tea and lemonade. On my walk back to the library, I noticed a couple looking at a large map of Portland, ME. They looked like they were trying to find something but couldn’t figure out where to go. I stepped in and said, “Is there something I can help you find? I live downtown and I’m also a librarian. It’s part of my job to help people find what they need.”
In the end, I helped the couple find what they were looking for and we went our separate ways. It got me thinking about roving reference and how well it could possibly work OUTSIDE of the library. Imagine a few librarians roaming around downtown, helping people find what they were looking for, recommending great local businesses and restaurants, and handing out informational pamphlets that helped folks discover new things around the city? An idea like this may work best in a smaller town or one that had a tourist population, but theoretically it could work anywhere as well. Perhaps a great partnership opportunity for libraries and downtown districts could (such as this one: http://www.portlandmaine.com/) make the project even better. It would allow two organizations to share resources and people and give a new and exciting spin to librarians connecting people to the community.
Care to chime in on the discussion at Branch? Visit here: http://on.branch.com/UbwweJ
For more information on embedded librarians, check out these two great posts from Michael that give some history on the topic:
Two Librarians Attempt to Knock Down Walls
The Transparent Library: Dear Library Directors
-Post by Justin Hoenke, Tame the Web Contributor