Re: Taking on Library Services - seeking guidance #library

Connie Crosby

Hi Tammy:

Congratulations on the new responsibilities. Will you still have librarians/library staff working with you? 

I am a law librarian by training; my former role was as library manager in a Toronto law firm before I started consulting in KM, IM, social media and library management. I will be at SLA, and happy to meet with you. We can take the arrangements off-line.

Some quick responses to your questions that others might find of interest:

--How do you align the library with the larger corporate mission?

Look to see what organizational objectives are information/knowledge related. You have the opportunity now to tie internal and external information together. This may be a good time to conduct an information audit and gap analysis if you haven't done this recently to find out what information needs the organization has and how to bridge any gaps between existing services and what is needed. This is the type of work I do as part of my consulting so can give you some thoughts on that if you haven't done this before. 

--What are your primary library deliverables and services? 

When I was in the law firm it was varied:
> training of law students/ first year associates in legal research
> conducting advanced legal research 
> research guidance for lawyers and students
> conducting other research e.g. industry, news, government, country
> negotiation and oversight of contracts with online research service providers (this took up more time than you would expect)
> purchase and processing of new publications (including cataloguing where applicable)
> routing of new materials from the publishers 
> library budget management, invoice processing, tracking of online research for bill-back purposes
> weeding and finding new homes for old materials no longer needed

Many libraries also get involved in:

> copyright and digital rights management 
> digital assets management
> real-time delivery of information in key areas for the organization
> competitive intelligence (CI)
> business intelligence (BI)
> KM
> intranet / CMS
> records management

I also happened to be the firm's web master and administrated the firm's privacy committee while I was there.

--What best practices or leading edge practices are you employing? 

> just as with KM, it is difficult to transfer best practices from one library to another because user groups and organizations vary significantly
> libraries are attempting to automate as many of the processes as possible to free staff time up for more advanced work such as CI and KM. For example, new newsletter or journal issues arriving to a designated email address may be automatically checked in and distributed to those on routing lists without any human interaction

--What changes do you foresee making in the next 1-3 years? 

There are big shifts of special libraries into:
> delivering information from both internal and external sources at the point where the knowledge worker needs the information
> a stronger KM focus
> stronger ties to the marketing department
> real time information curation and delivery
> publishing
> development and maintenance of taxonomies and metadata for improved search results
> federated search
> increased tracking of online searches to determine usage levels (to show things like underused sources indicating that training may be needed or subscriptions may be reduced)
> use of social media tools
> providing just-in-time training via screencasting and other audio/video tools
> a greater awareness of UX

--What other Corporate Libraries should I study in pursuit of successful library management?

I will have to think about that. As far as law libraries go, Debevoise & Plimpton ( to be a real leader in library and KM. Steven Lastres speaks often about the work the firm is doing as an exemplar. I am sure you will see others at SLA.

I am currently reading the 2012 Ark Group report Adding Value in Corporate Libraries and Information Services by Constance Ard which I would recommend -- -- It includes case studies and lots of resources. If you hang on a few days I am hoping to have a discount code to share for this book--it is about to go into its second printing already. Disclaimer: I authored the chapter on social media; however, I do not make any proceeds from the sale. I know, call me crazy. 

I hope this is helpful! Get in touch with me to arrange a time to meet. See you in Chicago!


Connie Crosby
Crosby Group Consulting
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
416-919-6719 | connie@... | | |

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