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JESSE  September 2013

JESSE September 2013

Subject:

Re: Article on Adjuncts (fwd)

From:

Gretchen Whitney <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Lib/Info Sci Education Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 17 Sep 2013 19:21:47 -0400

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (124 lines)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2013 00:25:11 -0400
From: Joseph J. Mika <[log in to unmask]>

*/Special Libraries: A Survival Guide/*

James Matarazzo and Toby Pearlstein (Libraries Unlimited, 2013)

ISBN: 978-1-61069-267-0

Ebook: http://www.abc-clio.com/product.aspx?isbn=9781610692670

Review by Ulla de Stricker (www.destricker.com <http://www.destricker.com>)

Whenever special librarians gather, a topic sure to be discussed is the
alarming rate at which organizational libraries (or
information/knowledge centers or whatever they came to be called over
the years) have been drastically downsized or outright closed.It is an
observed fact that in troubled times, organizational libraries and their
staff represent a tempting target for budget cuts "now that everybody in
the organization has access to the internet".Professional conferences
typically feature sessions on strategies for aligning library services
with organizational priorities (way back, we used to call it marketing).

What a blessing that we have this new book!In it, famed special library
professionals Matarazzo and Pearlstein have provided a goldmine
compendium of new and previously published material relevant for special
librarians concerned about their professional futures - and material
equally relevant for educators charged with developing competencies in
students at library schools.The book constitutes a master class in
planning for specialized information services as the expert contributors
share their decades of accumulated expertise.For special librarianship,
the book should be considered the definitive textbook.It is a bonus that
the book is user friendly, alternating main text with side bar anecdotes
and case reports.

Several chapters are written by other luminaries in special
librarianship, and case studies provide a practical angle.Each chapter
is supported by an extensive reference list so that readers may pursue
in depth specific subtopics.

The inclusion of coverage of the situation in the UK, Australia, and New
Zealand makes for useful comparisons and demonstrates that the
phenomenon of special library closings is universal.This reviewer -
widely known as an advocate for association membership - is particularly
pleased with the chapter on the value of being a member of a
professional association.

On the foundation of an overview of past research into the fate of
special libraries, the book offers readers a selection of reality-based
guidelines and lessons learned.A central theme among strategies for
helping corporate library services thrive is its incorporation or
absorption into the day to day business of the enterprise (as opposed to
being a separate service unit), and the case studies support that
approach.The point is clear that "the prize" is not so much the survival
of the/library/ as it is the continued presence in the organization of
skilled/information professionals/ to support decision making.(In fact,
perhaps the book title ought to have been /Special Librarians: A
Survival Guide/.)

Part 1 of the book focuses on the need to measure the right activities
and offers a literature review of research and writings related to
corporate libraries.Part 2 contains a series of strategy descriptions to
go with sober looks at the future of special libraries as we knew
them.Part 3 wraps up the book with concise descriptions of successful
outcomes from innovative thinking about information services in
organizations.

Question:Who should read the book?Answer:Every information professional
associated with information supply to knowledge workers and decision
makers should read the book, and so should anyone contemplating a career
path in an organizational setting.

Having read the book, we would all be able to conduct a self-assessment
with the benefit of solid knowledge:

/Given the research and the case studies presented ... /

//

/How does my information services unit compare with the described
scenarios?/

/How do my activity measures demonstrate value to the organization?If
they do not, how could I change the way I measure activity and outcomes?/

/Do I have significant anecdotal evidence from employees that my
services are essential to their performance?/

/Do I have the ear of opinion leaders and influencers in my organization?/

/What opportunities do I see for embedding into an organizational unit
if indeed the library is to be closed or severely reduced?/

/What strategies and tactics that worked for others would or would not
work for me, given the corporate culture?/

/How could I parlay my information professional credentials into
knowledge centric roles in departments such as marketing or product
development?/

/How can I best support my organization ... outside the box of the
traditional special library?/

I highly recommend that library science educators include the book in
their curricula, and I highly recommend that every special librarian
dogear and postit the book as a daily companion.We owe Matarazzo and
Pearlstein a huge gratitude for having "pulled it all together" for us.


-- 
Joseph J. Mika, Professor Emeritus
School of Library and Information Science
Wayne State University
106 Kresge Library
Detroit, MI  48202    USA

email:  [log in to unmask]
cell:   1 (517) 719-3486
fax:    1 (517) 324-3637

www.slis.wayne.edu

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