Handling change in our industry was the theme at several sessions on Tuesday. Mary Ellen Bates talked about Special Library challenges, including the graying of the profession; special libraries competing with other departments with the organization; and attracting Generation Y.
She also said that library schools are not teaching some critical skills for special libraries: value-added online searching; post-processing analysis; marketing the library; leadership skills; communication & collaboration skills; teaching & speaking skills.
I hope there will be more on this session posted on the News Division web site, I plan to go back and catch up with the second half of her presentation since I had to leave early.
In another session called “Pumping Iron,” News Division members reviewed results of a survey sent to members in April. About 70 members responded. The presentation gave loads of specific numbers for staff reductions and hiring practices in recent years. The librarians discussed how essential it is to be proactive in offering services to the newsroom and to the public.
- Anne Holcomb, a solo librarian at the Kalamazoo Gazette, said she keeps on target by scheduling her day. Mornings for archiving, afternoons for long-term research, with deadline requests breaking in as needed.
- Ginny Everett of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said libraries need to be poised to meet unanticipated demands. Her example was a film clip that was on the AJC web site. When readers started asking to buy it as a DVD, she was able to respond quickly.
- Michael Meiners of the St. Louis Post Dispatch mentioned keeping his researchers front and center in the newsroom by seizing opportunities for researchers to train the newsroom.
- Debra Bade of the Chicago Tribune talked about working with other librarians in a chain of newspapers to share ideas and info.
I expect more on this session to be posted to the Intranet as well.