As a professor, David Shumaker's job is twofold: "I explain why the world needs more librarians and help to develop and educate librarians to fill the unmet needs out there." Shumaker is particularly interested in embedded librarianship, wherein a librarian provides specialized, highly focused information expertise to a specific small group of other professionals. He says, "Embedded librarians are the people who can quench that thirst for really meaningful information. But it means transcending old notions of library service and taking up a 2.0 mindset, where we become collaborators and partners, not servers."
As for developing and educating the next generation of librarians, Shumaker focuses on the bedrock principles that will endure regardless of changes in the work environment. He says, "The degree program is only the beginning; lifelong learning is a must."
In A Day's Work
Shumaker has a plethora of "typical days" including teaching days, writing-on-deadline days, meeting days, and visiting days, where he travels to other libraries to see alternative approaches in action. "Often, I have more than one of these ‘days' within in a single 24-hour period," Shumaker says. He considers the diversity of his job one of its most treasured benefits.
Most Memorable Customer Encounter
"When I was in my 20s, I started a new job on the same day as an experienced, senior engineer with a no-nonsense attitude. Within a week, he was in the library, giving me an earful about how ours was the worst library he'd ever encountered in his entire career. However, over time we brought him around. We eventually started a secret Patron of the Year award in his honor, celebrating with a little party and a toast in the back of the library."
View From the Desk
"I look out over a rose garden and then the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, D.C., and out to suburban Maryland. From my vantage point, it's like a village, with trees, glimpses of houses, and the occasional church steeple."
"Footy - Australian Rules football, that is. I hope to visit Australia to see a game in person."
If Not Econtent, Then What?
"I'd be a detective. In some ways being a research librarian is a lot like playing detective, not just finding clues but figuring out which ones to pay attention to, interpreting and understanding them."