CLA Conference 2007 - Session 40: The Insider Report

Reprinted from The Signal (Saturday, May 26)


Generating commonality when you are the odd one out
By Jennifer Wilson

(Session 40) As a service profession in the twenty-first century, librarians hip is grappling with outdated perceptions of our role and our skills. In spite of a shared desire amongst librarians to educate our patrons, our financiers, and the public about the role that librarians could play in an information society, there has been some hesitancy to explore the different branches of librarians hip in order to educate each other about the multiplicity of roles filled by those attending this conference. For some students, myself included, special libraries are a source of curiosity and, in some cases, misconception. One of the most important facts shared at The Insider Report session was that special libraries are not distinguished by their collections, which can indeed be unique, but rather by their clientele. This aha! moment was followed by many others from Christina Tooulias-Santolin and Trish LeBlanc.

As a special librarian there are opportunities to work alongside your clients and develop meaningful relationships in which your searching and filtering expertise help them to accomplish their goals. There are opportunities to refine your skill sets and develop new ones including collection development, instructional strategy, and management expertise. To take advantage of the opportunities presented to special librarians you do not necessarily need a background in the subject are a that you wish to serve, but rather a willingness to develop a detailed knowledge of the research environment that will best serve your clients needs.

The emphasis on customer service, research, and professional development is common across different library sectors. I, for one, am now ready to be part of this odd, but interesting, world of special libraries.

Jennifer Wilson is a MLIS student from the University of Alberta's School of Library and Information Studies.

No comments: