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!
As information professionals we are often asked to give our advice and our professional opinion on a number of issues and projects. Sometimes it is difficult to offer guidance confidently, yet it is our obligation to do so. In this post I’ll offer my thoughts on why and how to begin.
I wrote my first 12 tips for innovation and product development success at your library based on my own experiences (and as a sort of ode to my 39th anniversary of my MLS graduation). This is a three part series and the next 11 tips are right here. Watch for the final batch in my next post.
There’s nothing like the 39th anniversary of your library school graduation to cause you to reflect. I have many memories of a young, newly minted, newly married and very green librarian heading out into the big world. Ironically, my first task in those pre-Amazon days was to order a book—and I didn’t know how and was a solo librarian. Learning started fast in professional practice. What have I learned in the last 39 years, and is any of it useful?
Librarians are more relevant than ever. We have no good reason to be on the defense and every reason to take the offensive. Conversation in our field is fraught with too much navel gazing and not enough looking at external evidence that many things are going well. We share too many stories about the bad stuff and too rarely share the successes. Yet we are an adaptive profession. Positive change is our tradition; let’s talk about that!
One of the most popular buzzwords in library-land at the moment is ‘curation’. It’s used to describe anything from old-fashioned collection development to human filtering activities on social media like Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and blogs. The word ‘curator’ gets used too liberally to describe the stuff people do on the web and, in my humble option, dilutes and pollutes the professional things that librarians do.
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?
A meme in the Millennial generation is that they hate to be called Millennials. Same goes for hipsters, punks, etc. So, forgive the shorthand in this post to describe the cohort of new professionals in our field. They offer as much diversity as there always has been, and no generalization can make up for that. That said, there are some themes emerging as newer professionals comprise an ever-increasing share of our field.