Embedded Online Librarian (Information for Faculty)

About this Guide

Do your online students need help finding credible resources for their research and correctly formatting their papers and citations? Interested in working with a librarian in your online Canvas course? Use this guide to learn more about how you can partner with the library even when your class is 100% online! Contact us for questions, or to get started!

Stephanie Espinoza Villamor, eLearning Librarian, CSN Libraries Distance Education Team leader

Jason Green, eLearning Librarian, North Las Vegas Campus

Becky Blunk, CSN Libraries Instruction Team leader (to schedule in-person instruction)


What is Embedded Librarianship?

  • Library presence in a virtual learning space: The librarian would be added as a "Teacher" directly into your Canvas shell!
  • Micro to macro levels of involvement: You can have a customized guide embedded in Canvas and the librarian available to answer questions, or you can request detailed tutorials, videos, discussion board moderation, and more!
  • Customized content: The librarian works with you to determine the best possible collections and resources to share with students, or creates brand new content based on your needs!
  • Working relationships: This is a great way to learn more about the library and how we can help each other!
Computer and Keyboard
An Embedded Online librarian is recommended primarily for classes that:
  • Are Online, Hybrid, or In-Person classes that heavily utilize Canvas
  • Require at least one research paper or project
  • Require research sources outside of the textbook
  • Emphasize writing, spoken debate, or information literacy skills in some way
  • Are comfortable letting a library faculty member into the course to send announcements, post videos, etc. (always with instructor consent)
  • Are able to offer points for working with a librarian (required or extra credit) as studies show optional librarians are rarely utilized (If instructors cannot offer credit to students for working with a librarian, the librarian can still be embedded in the course, but we recommend that the instructor should heavily emphasize to students the importance of working with the librarian to improve assignment grades).

Step by Step

How it Works:
  1. Meet with the librarian (in person or online) to establish shared goals. Confirm:
    • Will the librarian be required, extra credit, or optional? 
    • For which assignment(s) will the students use a librarian? (Sending an assignment description early is helpful!)
    • Any special requirements for students to get credit? Ex: Contact librarian 3 times, follow a rubric, etc.
    • What additional librarian-created content (if any) is requested?
    • Is this course completely online, hybrid, or in-person but uses Canvas?
    • How many of this instructor’s sections will the librarian be embedded in?
    • What are the course numbers and section numbers?
    • When is the deadline for students to work with the librarian in order to get credit?
    • Who will contact the Office of eLearning (nancy.webb@csn.edu) so the librarian can be added to the course as a Teacher? Our librarians are happy to contact the office for you if you prefer!
  2. Review any library content created in advance (such as guides, tutorials, videos, and discussion boards) to ensure it works for your class.
  3. Let your students know about the librarian (such as through announcements or Canvas messenger, or let the librarian know when you would like them to introduce themselves to students through announcements or Canvas messenger). It is important for students to know what the librarian can and can't do. For example: a librarian can help students learn how to find sources, but won't fetch the sources for them. They can review citations for correct formatting, but can't edit an entire paper for grammar/spelling/punctuation.
  4. Remind students it's their responsibility to contact the librarian. The librarian does not contact each student individually to help them get credit. The librarian can, however, keep a list of the students who work with her or him and send that list to the instructor at the end of semester (or end of assignment deadline) so the instructor can award any credit to students who did the library work. Students can work with the librarian through Canvas messenger, email, online chat, or in-person and still receive credit.
  5. Meet with librarian (in person or online) after class ends to review what worked well and what didn’t, to discuss any changes you might want to make, and to confirm if you both want to do this again next semester.
  6. Send any course/instructor evaluations to the librarian for library data purposes if the embedded librarian was mentioned in the evaluation.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the semester, what would you like your students to be able to do?

We recommend selecting 1-3 learning outcomes for students to walk away with after working with an embedded librarian. Just let the embedded librarian know your preferences:


  1. Use research databases to find materials relevant to completing an assignment
  2. Evaluate found resources with regard to their appropriateness for academic research (e.g., website evaluation)
  3. Choose the best types of sources for students' information needs
  4. (The library's Learning Outcome #4 only applies to in-person instruction. Schedule a library class here).
  5. Develop an assignment appropriate topic or research question
  6. Identify keywords from a student-generated topic or research question
  7. Develop a search strategy using advanced techniques such as phrase searching, truncation, limiters, or Boolean logic.
  8. Identify when and how to cite materials and do so using a specific citation style.


Want to just add library content instead of a librarian? Below are links to resources you can put in Canvas right now! Right Click on the link and select "copy link address", then paste in a Canvas page. To add individual library articles, ebooks, and more, see our page: Add Library Resources to Canvas.