Who Moved My Library?

Commentary on the changing world of libraries, from the viewpoint of a corporate library.

Friday, March 03, 2006

What makes our Library a Library?

Data Obsessed defined what makes her library a library. I thought I'd do the same.

What makes my library a library is the librarians!

I work in a pharmaceutical company library. Recently our physical space was downsized. Consequently we were forced to downsize our collections. Therefore, all we have left to build upon for the future is the value the librarians add.

I think we find ourselves in this predicament today because we failed to align the library to the strategic goals of the corporation. We never tied library success to the success of the corporation as a whole. As a result, when space started to become scarce we were a prime target.

I am hoping to turn this around. While we were not given everything we wanted to create a virtual library that would rival our old physical library, I'm still trying to add these items incrementally. Regardless of the resources we're allowed to bring in, we will still provide the best service to our customers and we will strive to be the best library we can be!

I will be taking this opportunity to create a library that is strategically aligned to the success of the company. How will I do that? I think the library needs a champion in upper management. If we get upper management buy-in, if someone with influence realizes that a superior library will create superior results for the company, then I think the library will be more successful. I've identified some target "potential champions." Now all we need to do is figure out what their hot buttons are. What are they concerned about? What issues are they dealing with? Once those have been identified, the library needs to provide solutions to those issues/problems. If our champion is concerned with ROI, we make the case that robust library services provide the best ROI for the company's employees. If our champion is concerned with understanding the competition, we make the case that no one can provide better competitive intelligence than a well funded library. You get the idea.

As you can see we have a tough road ahead of us. Sometimes it takes the rug being pulled from under your feet, literally, to make changes for the better. I just hope it's not too late.

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