Archive for April, 2013

Next Stop: New Jersey

April 19, 2013

I’ll be delivering the 36th Annual Alice Rankin Lecture for the Special Libraries Association, New Jersey Chapter, on Tuesday, May 7. I’ve chosen to title it “The Embedded Model, the Future of Librarianship, and What to Do at Work Tomorrow.” I’m really excited about this and looking forward to some great conversation with the folks in the New Jersey Chapter! If you’re located in New Jersey or nearby Pennsylvania or New York, please join us. We’ll be at the Rutgers Inn and Conference Center, and details are at http://bit.ly/XV7wyg . See you there!

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Models of Embedded Librarianship Final Report

April 13, 2013

Earlier this week, I learned that the final report of the Models of Embedded Librarianship research project, which was funded by the Special Libraries Association, has been temporarily taken off the SLA website. I’m told it will be restored, but because I’ve had a recent request for it, I’ve decided to go ahead and post it here.

The full documentation includes the following:

  • The Final Report (2009)
  • Four Appendices (2009)
  • A supplement to the final report (Corrected version Nov. 2011)

I’m omitting the original bibliography, because I previously posted an updated bibliography on this blog last summer.

How Not to Reach Out

April 11, 2013

I’ve spent the last 3 days at the annual Computers in Libraries Conference, which was excellent! I’ve heard a number of thoughtful and thought-provoking presentations and picked up some great tips and ideas.

However, it’s a couple ideas I heard that I don’t agree with that are the subject of this posting. (I’ve heard them before, so I think they’re fairly widespread among librarians, and need some serious discussion.)

At a session this afternoon, there was some discussion of tactics for reaching out to faculty (the context was higher education) who are not using the services of the librarian. One suggestion was to send periodic email inquiries, or drop by someone’s office, to ask if there’s anything you can help with. Another was to send unsolicited information items, saying that you know the person is working in a particular field, and believe they might be interested.

The first approach is empty, and perhaps a bit lazy. It’s a shortcut for the work of relationship-building. The job of the faculty/researcher isn’t to figure out how to use the librarian, and the answer is likely to be “no, thanks.” Rather, it’s the librarian’s job to figure out how to be useful. This approach violates the marketing principle that the service provider needs to understand the customer, and not start by pushing what you think they need.

The second is all the above, plus potentially annoying. It may come across as spam.

Wouldn’t it be better to have a 15-minute conversation with the person, learn a little bit about their interests, and ask for permission to feed them updates from time to time? That way, you get the beginning of a relationship.

Even better is to become so valuable to other faculty/researchers that you get word of mouth working for you, and the non-users seek you out.

What do you think? What outreach tactics have worked for you?