Self-promotion can be difficult, but sharing your library’s successes with senior management and your peers is critical. Remember the age-old question, “If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is there to hear it, did it make a sound?” Communicating the value of your department’s content and services by publicizing your successes is something you must regularly do, so that the message is loud and clear.
When your library (or one of your library staff members) experiences a success—especially one tied to top level organizational objectives—there are many benefits to sharing it both internally and externally.
What does success look like?
First, it’s important to define what success looks like for your library, for one of your staff members, or for you individually. The definition of success often lies in the organizational mission statement and goals. For example,
- If your company wants to build a global reputation as the premier research organization on topic X, what can you do to make access to that research broadly available through your public website?
- If your CEO places a priority on client development and new business, how will you take ownership of a competitive intelligence function that ensures she has the best and most current information on target companies? Can you create a CI specialist role on your team?
- Do you work for a multinational firm with project teams scattered across the globe? If so, how can you ensure that everyone has 24/7 access to critical content, ways to find experts wherever they are, and tools to share the good stuff?
What are the benefits of sharing departmental success?
Your library may run like a well-oiled machine, and that’s great. But silent contributors run the risk of being taken for granted. Regularly communicate small successes and big wins to top management, your peers within the organization, and the external world as well. That way your department will be considered integral to organizational success and given the appropriate resources, including professional development opportunities and sufficient headcount. Also, if and when times get tough, you’ll have a seat at the table when resources are reallocated and budgetary decisions are made.
When you represent your organization to the world at large as innovative, focused on quality, technology forward, or customer-centric (again, tied to the mission), you’re helping to build the brand and keep it successful. You may even help attract top talent to your firm because people value access to knowledge assets, and understand the importance of working with information professionals.
Telling your success stories can inspire your external network of librarians and knowledge managers, and further the commitment to sharing proven practices and elevating the reputation of the profession.
We share our clients’ successes …and our own
Lucidea has a success story program through which we continually learn about the terrific things our clients are achieving with our ILS, museums and archives collections management software, and KM solutions. We regularly interview clients such as The Center for Transportation Research, ETS (Educational Testing Service), and History Colorado, with a focus on what is unique and exciting about their environment, objectives and implementation. Where possible, we include information on metrics and bottom line impact, addressing a combination of visible, tangible results and qualitative measurements.
These stories serve as examples of what other clients and prospective clients can achieve in their own libraries, museums, archives and knowledge centers. They also demonstrate Lucidea’s success as a software company uniquely focused on delivering purpose-built solutions to a broad array of sectors and organizational sizes and types.
How about you?
There are lots of channels, both internal and external, through which to promote your successes. They range from e-newsletters to intranet banners, to presentations (at professional conferences, internal management meetings or town halls), to participating in a success story program like Lucidea’s.
Remember to celebrate and share. Speaking of which, please share your success stories with us. Click here to send us some details, and we’ll publish them (preserving your anonymity, of course) in an upcoming post where we celebrate our clients and blog readers!
Skills for special librarians include using learning theories such as connectivism; users need to see connections between information sources
Medical librarians share professional development goals and needs with other special librarians; the MLA provides learning opportunities.
Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction can be used for class planning to help get your special library students in the correct mental state for learning.
Skills for special librarians working in a digital environment include learning how to expand their library’s or organization’s online presence.