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The embedded librarian as an entrepreneur in a startup university

Raymond Pun (New York University Shanghai, Shanghai, China)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 10 August 2015




The purpose of this paper is to explore the various roles of academic librarians in a particular startup university and how they embrace the “entrepreneurial spirit” by collaborating with many departments as the “embedded librarian”. The paper examines how embedded librarians can become entrepreneurs in generating new opportunities, collaborations and support within this university and through several departments. The paper also suggests how librarians can become embedded and entrepreneurial in academic librarianship.


The approach of this paper is to explore several case examples of how librarians who are embedded in a startup university demonstrate and possess the “entrepreneurial spirit” that redefine traditional roles of a librarian by opening up new opportunities for collaboration and support.


The paper finds that these case examples can serve as paradigms for other librarians to become entrepreneurs in their universities or communities; these examples also show that librarians can and must adapt to new changes whether they are economic, political, social or technological: librarians can be innovative and entrepreneurial in startup or non-startup environments.


The paper examines how librarians, particularly embedded ones in a department, can be entrepreneurs that can add tremendous value to the university and community in a way that transcends and redefines traditional roles of librarians.



Pun, R. (2015), "The embedded librarian as an entrepreneur in a startup university", Reference Services Review, Vol. 43 No. 3, pp. 439-449.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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