Special librarians are continually asked to do more, even in the face of diminishing resources. Many special librarians are all too aware of this, and hearing about effective ways to thrive nonetheless is one of the reasons that information professionals attend the SLA annual conference.
One of the best reasons to attend the SLA annual conference is for the professional development sessions, including the Hot Topics presentations. Today, special librarians are facing diminishing resources on every front, such as:
- Shrinking staff size
- Smaller budgets
- Less physical space
- Lack of priority with overworked IT staff
- Less influence as valued organizational leaders
With everything that’s being taken away, the issue of how to build and maintain an essential department and service portfolio looms large for the profession. Clearly, that’s part of the reason why the first two sessions in Lucidea’s Hot Topics series on the “sustainable library” were hugely successful, with phenomenal attendance. The first in the lineup (2014) was “Adapt, Act and Thrive: Ensuring a Sustainable Library,” followed in 2015 by “Building the Resilient Library.” The panelists were all from successful, growing libraries and offered practical advice and examples of how they thrive, embrace, leverage and even create change.
This year, the presenters for Lucidea’s Hot Topics panel “Doing More with More: You Can’t Shrink Your Way to Success” will deliver stories from the front lines that demonstrate how their departments are thriving in the extraordinarily dynamic yet resource-constrained environment that special librarians face.
Panelists for this discussion are librarians and knowledge managers who will celebrate achievements and share details of how they deliver more content, more access, more services, and more results… for more reasons—going beyond the traditional to deliver essential support for organizational strategic imperatives, and really earning a place at the table.
It’s very easy to feel downcast about the prospects for the special library profession, but to paraphrase Mark Twain, “The reports of [its] death are greatly exaggerated.” There are so very many real examples of success that can give hope and inspiration, along with practical examples of how it’s possible to imagine (and seize) emerging opportunities for special librarians. I’m sure that if you attend Lucidea’s Hot Topics panel on Monday, June 13th, you’ll see how sustainability is ensured when you leverage unique technologies, capitalize on the wisdom of the crowd and create productive change, all while thinking about special library and knowledge management through different filters. Will you be there?
Often, a special library makes a first impression through its web presence; keep the user experience (UX) at the front of all website decisions
Nontraditional skills for special librarians include marketing and visibility building; these are critical in a virtual library environment
Special librarians can work with a user experience (UX) designer to create virtual online spaces (intranets, websites) that are intuitive for users
Offering experience-based learning is an important way for special librarians to facilitate deeper engagement with resources.