by Sandra Crumlish, Southern California Chapter, Biomedical & Life Sciences and Leadership & Management Divisions
One thing I have learned in the corporate world is that space is a high commodity. For the past 21 years I have been able to keep the Library in the same place – a somewhat large room with one wall of windows. The ideal space to allow people to feel like they are away from the desk to read and acquire information in a different environment. As we concentrate on utilizing technologies of the future to ready ourselves, our libraries, and our organizations for what is to come, let’s not forget our physical presence – where that applies.
The Library tends to lead the organization in adopting new technologies and is the first to provide virtual resources for the global organization. As we transition to a more digital than a mainly print library I am eyeing my space as a vulnerable target, and the vultures are slowly starting to circle. Future Ready is not just about planning our futures in the profession and keeping up. For those of us who have physical libraries we have to be even more creative and innovative about how our space becomes Future Ready as our print collections diminish in the face of providing more electronic materials. We are planning now because looking into the future two or three years will show us with fewer shelves full of books and journals, although we will always retain a print collection, it will just be smaller.
Welcome to the future! While we do not plan to have space-age seating and workstations, we do plan to have a space that aesthetically encourages people to actually visit the Library. Some of our brainstorming ideas center around collaboration spaces that do not look anything like mini conference cubicles. We are talking about circular spaces that allow dynamic discussion with teamwork tools available, displays of devices, diagrams, anatomical representations of implanted devices (ours of course), programmers and remote care units, new technologies, etc. – past, present and future. By providing access to our past and present, with room to boost creativity, our researchers can plan and design for the future. This creative-enhancing space will provide unique resources for the future and they will not all be digital.
The future holds so many possibilities we should not limit ours. We have to think of interactive experiences – the younger generation is coming to work with those of us who may be a little long in the tooth, but there is room for both our worlds to meet, especially if we want to compete.
Sandra Crumlish, Manager St. Jude Medical CRMD Library & Resource Center, developed St. Jude Medical’s Library from a bare storeroom with a few journals to a multi-disciplined library and was the driving force to create a virtual library, providing enterprise-wide access to medical, technical, business, and industry electronic resources. Sandra’s current focus is in developing a knowledge management initiative for the company and is working with the IT Web Development Team to create more efficient and capable tools to achieve that end.