by Josh Walters
At the end of 2010 I reviewed and reported on the goals I’d set for my work-year back in January. These included top level categories like service delivery, business partner engagement, advocacy and outreach, and strategy and communications. Tactics within each of these areas involved extensive use of web communications vehicles and online business networking platforms. Time and time again I was called upon to join teams as a consultant, a critical ear, or to aid in the redirection of a team mired in its own detail.
I should mention that technically, I’m an Access and Interface librarian–that means I do web design, usability, optimization; I “productize” services we’ve traditionally done as manual processes using the web, or translate business partner and end user needs into a service we can “sell” inside the enterprise to other groups. In many cases, this leads to innovation. In others, it means greater user-awareness and more work. In either, it’s exposure, proof, leverage, an elevator speech… that said, considering the words “access” and “interface,” and using a broad interpretation, it may be apt.
We have a leadership attribute inside our company that translates to: Finds a way. It implies that when the road is ill-defined (or non-existent) one who will succeed is one who taps some inner reservoir and marshals a solution. During this current economic downturn–as we have fewer resources, people and consequently, time–it is often the punchline to a dire joke. But it’s serious as a heart attack to librarians under the gun.
Librarians jump into new platforms and mediums as easily as breathing. New social bookmarking app? Librarians are in it. Putting web pieces together using JQuery and AJAX? Librarians. Extending the blog as a strategic communications vehicle? Turning a wiki into a publishing platform? Tying together underpowered SharePoint environments for greater collaboration? Teaching groups that there’s more to the library than what they ever thought possible? Librarians, librarians, librarians… librarians.
In reviewing my goals at the end of 2010 I noted that in more than one of my focus areas ‘come 2011, I’d be putting “Finds a Way” to extensive use. Being “Future Ready,” none of those subject areas are going away: Service, engagement, outreach, strategy, communications: open the tool box, find a way. The fun is just beginning.
Talk to you again soon,
Josh Walters is a librarian with The Boeing Company. He spends extensive time consulting on projects throughout the enterprise related to optimal use of tools and collaboration environments, supporting the Knowledge Management effort, and talking about effective communications practices using social business platforms. Though physically located in Durham, North Carolina, and with due respect to the locals, he considers himself an SLA-Southern California Chapter member in diaspora.