by Jane Kirby, Oregon Chapter, Government Information Division
A few weeks ago, a library customer hailed me in the parking lot as I returned from lunch. “Hi Jane, I have a DVD to return. I’ll stop by the library when you open at 1:00.” I glanced at my watch: 12:50. “No need wait,” I said. “I’ll take it now so you can be on your way. I know you have a manager’s meeting this afternoon.” I smiled as I walked into my building. “Working in a special library is like being a librarian in a small town,” I thought. “You represent the library wherever you go and you always know what’s going on.”
We special librarians are in a position to know our customers very well. After all, we have a long-term clientele made up of co-workers and business associates. This close-knit relationship offers a unique opportunity to anticipate and respond to our customers’ information needs. If we simply tap into the grapevine, we’ll quickly learn how we can help.
Is the government affairs manager convening a task force and looking for volunteers? Step up and join the team. Who better than a librarian to provide research and analysis for a high-visibility project?
Does one of the engineers have a reputation for being demanding and difficult to please? Win her over with the current awareness service and you might find your library’s best advocate.
Or, how about the young data analyst who is overwhelmed with a major project, not to mention a new baby at home? Save him some time by delivering information to his cubicle. It only takes a minute.
Reach out. Listen. Be flexible. The Future Ready special library melds high touch with high technology.