San Diego, California is home of beautiful weather, spectacular beaches- and a group of highly motivated, driven and future-ready information professionals. The SLA-San Diego Chapter is proud to join in the conversation with our SLA peers about what it means to be Future Ready. Our San Diego membership boasts a wide range of professional experience and expertise, and we hope that you find our contributions to the FutureReady365 blog to be both thought-provoking and useful!
by Dolly Goulart, San Diego Chapter, Competitive Intelligence, Engineering, Legal, Leadership & Management, and Science-Technology Divisions
At your next meeting, look around. Who do you see sitting at the table? What roles do they fill? Are you regularly sitting amongst librarians or information providers, or are you regularly sitting with a cross-functional group, representing various business units, roles, or functions? If your answer is the first, why isn’t it the latter?
The overused stereotype of the librarian as a back-office or behind-the-scenes support person makes it easy for those in our role to resign ourselves to a position of reactiveness. As highly knowledgeable professionals within the organization, it is in the best interest of everyone involved – you, the client, and the organization – for information professionals to recognize their value and forge themselves a seat at the table.
Recognizing one’s value doesn’t always come easily. It takes self-reflection, future awareness, and the ability to part with comfort. Understanding the importance of our role is not enough. If you understand, but don’t demonstrate your value, you are not any further ahead. Consistently demonstrating your value requires one to evaluate the role they want to fill. The way we present ourselves determines the success we’ll encounter. Do you want to be an advocate for comprehensive information that answers strategic needs, or do you want to be a fill-in secretary, providing transactional-based support without building an equally respecting relationship with your clients? I know which role I want to fill and work every day to make sure the team I manage is viewed in the most professional capacity possible. I don’t fight for a seat amongst other highly competent business professionals. I let the work of our team speak for itself, resulting in strong partnerships across the company and strategically aligned participation. Do we still have work to do on this front? Yes. Is there alignment that we still need to strengthen? Yes. Do we increase our value almost daily, thereby increasing the level of respect and ultimately inclusion? Absolutely.
Back to the stereotype. Why is that we spend so much time evaluating old stereotypes and using them as crutches to keep us from moving forward? It’s so easy to think that someone doesn’t need a librarian in the room, or that they’ll come to us when they need us. Isn’t it more important to look towards the future, forget about the past, and for each and every one of us, determine the best approach to making sure we’re included in the discussion, whatever that discussion is? Personally, I get excited about tomorrow. I get excited about the possibilities and the potentials. I don’t dwell too much on why or why not and I don’t look too far back. Am I a risk taker? Maybe, maybe not. More than anything, I’m passionate about my role and the role librarians can fill. I don’t apologize for that passion because that is what keeps me engaged. It is also what gets me invited to the table.
Dolly Goulart has over seventeen years of experience in the information industry, including more than ten years of corporate experience in wireless and telecommunications. She is currently the manager of Research & Analysis for Qualcomm Library & Information Services, leading a team that supports a global population of Qualcomm employees. In addition to providing industry research and competitive IP intelligence, the team partners heavily with strategic and cross departmental groups to provide business critical research deliverables.