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Part Three—Overcoming 6 Challenges to Special Library Sustainability

Posted by Lucidea on 3/3/2017

challenges-hs-1.jpgThis is the third post in our series about the six major challenges to library success. (You can find the first post here and the second post here.) We observe that the same challenges to sustainability keep surfacing during our conversations with information management professionals—no matter the organization size, sector or geography. Please read on for our thoughts on the third most pressing issue special librarians are facing today—permissions management.

The third challenge makes everyone say, “Yes, …but…” The great news is that your library is seen as the hub for organizational knowledge assets (Yes!), but your library system isn’t equipped to manage sensitive, secured, or uniquely formatted content. This limits you to offering “traditional” library content.

What we hear

“I am unable to provide my customers with direct access to sensitive/mission critical content—the library is seen as a bottleneck.”


You have the content, but without a library system that guarantees secure access and robust permissions, that doesn’t matter. You’re stuck lamenting your untapped potential, and users access mission critical content through other channels.

Overcoming the Challenge

So, you’ve built a name for yourself, your library is seen as relevant, and you can deliver one-stop access to enterprise content (both internal and third party)—great news! But you may still lack the tools to give your IT department and content owners the confidence that you can control permissions and guarantee secure access. Unfortunately, robust security, permissions management and content control aren’t the first things that IT and technology procurement leaders think of when they imagine a library system.

With that said, we know that IT wants nothing more than to offload the burden of managing content! In most cases, that alone supports the business case for migrating to an ILS or KM application that enables you to do the job for them, but of course to do it right in terms of sensitive and mission critical content.

The bottom line

When you select an ILS or KM application that offers robust, built-in content security and permissions management, including integration with your existing security backbone (e.g., Active Directory, ADFS), the IT department can endorse your solution. As a result, you’ll be at the forefront of content access within your organization. And don’t spread this around, but we’ve even seen cases where IT allocates some budget because they’re so happy.

We’ll address the remaining three top challenges to library sustainability in future blog posts, so please stay tuned. If you’d like to watch our recent webinar, “How to Overcome 6 Important Library Challenges,” we have posted it below—please check it out.

If you’ve faced and/or addressed this challenge, we’d love to to hear about your experiences. Please share via the comments box below.



Topics: Library Management, Knowledge Management, Solo Librarianship, SydneyEnterprise, Integrated Library Systems