Even More Synergy

Here is Information Today’s president, Tom Hogan Sr., replete in his new Hawaiian shirt, moderating the synergy session yesterday morning.  Dick and Paula have provided some thoughts; here are some more.

There seemed to be a universal concern running through most of the questions, and that was how can special librarians prove their worth to their organizations, especially the business leaders.  Eugenie Prime was adamant that  we must be sure that we are worth investing in because if we don’t believe it, there will be no continuity.  We must deliver results and communicate them well.  You need real-life stories and examples, not a Powerpoint presentation or statistics.  It’s not natural for business leaders to think of information professionals.  This is a difficult task and will not work overnight. Eugenie feels that SLA has a very important role to play.  Steve Abram agreed, saying that  when we hand somebody an article, we must tell them how hard it was to find it and why it meets their needs.  We must improve our self-esteem and make sure that people understand that their competiitive advantage is lowered if they don’t use the services of an information professional.  Cliff Lynch said that we must make a case for value, and that real-life stories do that.

One questioner wondered what are the core competencies needed by information professionals.  The panel was unanimous that they were not technological because technology rapidly becomes obsolete.  Eugenie said that we should always operate according to business principles.  You can lead from the bottom of the hierarchy, especially if you have confidence in your skills and what you offer.

One interesting suggestion from the panel was that SLA should put ads about the profession in business publications such as Fortune or Business Week.

Don  Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today

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