Library marketing has become a hot topic, with public libraries working hard to increase footfall and enroll new members. With regard to special libraries, some companies believe that since the library is in place, staff will automatically flock to it. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case despite the fact that their users are a captive audience.
“Information overload refers to the state of having too much information to make a decision or remain informed about a topic. It is often referred to in conjunction with various forms of computer mediated communication such as email and the web. The term was coined in 1970 by Alvin Toffler in his book Future Shock.” (Wikipedia)
Are you still hearing that hackneyed old comment, “Most everything’s available on the web now, so exactly why do we need librarians?” I certainly am! Arghhh! It’s coming from all quarters and other professionals too. In financially tumultuous times, when every cent is being scrutinized to within a centimeter of its life, we can expect this ugly example of shallow thinking to raise its head again and again. It’s time to remind ourselves of quick ways to respond to these comments.
Libraries and librarians are all about experiences. How would you describe the experience of dealing with you? What are the benefits? In this post, I’d like to explore the knowledge experience and how it has changed over the years with respect to the library/librarian value proposition. As we enter an era of new opportunities it’s wise to see how we got to this point.
Our first three posts defined customer engagement and focused on our clients/colleagues. We suggested a strategy for identifying and connecting with the colleagues we serve. We looked into gaining a better understanding of ourselves as people, and we reviewed the core skills for listening. In this post we design a roadmap for engaging colleagues in the various specialized settings of information professionals.
Part Three: Client Engagement in Special Libraries—What are the skills and competencies for engagement?
In our first two posts in this series, we defined what customer engagement is in the special librarian’s context, and outlined an approach to building a special library focused customer relationship management system.
Now, let’s ask ourselves what are the major competencies required for success? What should we invest our personal development focus on?
My last post defined terms related to customer engagement and focused on the personal relationship-building component of our mandate with our target colleagues.
A major element of building relationships is knowing your colleagues well. No one’s memory is perfect. You can’t remember everything, and you may be working in teams (although this is useful for solos too). For sustainability and teamwork, you need to build a database that pulls together your knowledge of your clients and colleagues.
This series of blog posts on client engagement is inspired by a reader comment. Thanks!
“I appreciate Stephen Abram's tips. Could you talk more of 'engagement'? How can special librarians 'engage' employees? THANK YOU!”
This reader comment has inspired me to think more deeply about how special librarians and information professionals need to behave differently on the customer engagement front. Yes, special librarians are different!
There are plenty of articles and studies on information literacy in our professional literature. However, these almost always address the issue of information literacy in public, K-12 and academic libraries, and focus on end users. But what about workplace literacy?