What value and benefits do we add? Why information professionals are essential to successful digital, health and information literacy delivery (Keynote) - Kate Arnold

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LILAC 2014 Keynote Speaker

LILAC 2014 Keynote Speaker

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  • Next three slides highlight the transition the profession has undergone since late 1990s and advent of the internet and a move from gatekeeping in physical libraries.
    This slide comes form 1999 and was my first encounter with considering what new skills I’d need to learn to prosper in the changing world of news librarians.
  • This is a slightly later version of old to new skills and neatly sums up the new role of librarians – notice the change in use of words, much more business and benefit focussed, emphasising the value we can offer from our services rather than focussing on the services themselves.
  • Very up to date now, taken from a survey that SLA and FT did last year seeking responses from both librarians and executives with libraries.
    Note the way it’s moved us from technical experts to decision enablers. Again stressing we need to be thinking about benefits of what we do rather than what we actually do. And making sure it uses vocabulary that resonates with users.
  • IFLA reporting, published in Aug 2013, which identifies the five high level trends shaping the global info environment. So will have an impact on how we operate.
    Year long process to identify these trends involving literature review, followed by round table and online discussions which culminated in insights report launched at World Lib and Info Congress in Singapore.
    What does it mean:
    1 information literacy skills will be prized as a life skill; questions will arise about ownership of info and content – what will our role be in that?
    2 serious issues for individual privacy and trust will occur as big data supports advanced profiling of individuals and activities online are trackable
    3 increased lifelong learning and more recognition of non-formal and informal learning – what will our role be in that?
    4 more transparency on government initiatives heralded by open gov initiatives; more collective action to enable new voices and activity through crowd sourcing –hyper activity of crowd sourcing
    5 existing business models will be changing by innovative ways of working that will allow people to be economically active from anywhere and at anytime.
  • Survey info numbers who took part, what we did and when.
  • We need to solidify ourselves as the best solution to our organisation’s info needs. In order to do that we need to adapt to our environment of
    Changing landscapes – new technology, big data etc;
    Perception gap – we need to be realistic about level of value we provide in this new world;
    Austerity – have to face up to the fact that may info functions risk being downsized, or dismantled due to an environment of declinign budgets, IT investment and headcount.
  • We’re not the only profession undertaking this evolution, others, HR etc are having to be less siloed, closer to core business functions and able to show their strategic value.
    We need to solidify ourselves as the best solution to our organisation’s info needs. In order to do that we need to adapt to our environment of
    Changing landscapes – new technology, big data etc;
    Perception gap – we need to be realistic about level of value we provide in this new world;
    Austerity – have to face up to the fact that may info functions risk being downsized, or dismantled due to an environment of declinign budgets, IT investment and headcount.
  • Relationships are key – do you know how your organisation works, what its aims are; its strategy, how each department contributes to developments?
  • Users are more than colleagues – are they clients or customers? Does the way you treat them impact on how they see you and your role. Go the extra mile
  • Do you have a list of examples of where your work has helped to mitigate risk – in losing a big contract; helping to inform a bid etc.
    Make sure to deliver decision ready info; edit down responses to align with user needs – filter the answers.
    Show your value by quantifying time spent or saved.
    Highlight when you’ve found info ahead of users who have relied on Google.
    Make sure to highlight risks of wasting time searching on Google for materials you had paid for and had in stock.
  • Be a technical mastermind – share best practice – how many of you use social media now? How have you picked up these skills?
  • Wordle of SLA’s summarised competencies document. Note that info, services and organisation are the key large components so appear most frequently but then below that we have management, products, tools, clients, current, decisions – all very active words implying delivery and management of resources and users.
  • Bit of history on SLA competencies – originally published in 1997; updated in 2003 and currently going through revision. It provided three types of competencies. These are designed as tools to help with professional development, recruitment and assessment.
    Professional competencies – technical skills, knowledge and traits that related to info management, resources, services and technology
    Personal competencies – set of attitudes, skills and values that enable practitioners to work effectively and contribute to their organisations
    Core competencies – inherent qualities or values that any professional should adopt eg sharing best practice, cpd etc.
    In our updating of these we’ve acknowledged that some of the examples and all the applied scenarios need updating and revising. We’ve also changed one of the four key competencies from managing information organisers into creating and maintaining collaborative relationships.
  • CILIP’s prof knowledge and skills base – great visual framework to review your skills and expertise and see where you may have gaps and how to address these.
  • Specific example of what competencies are required in order for info pros to be able to demonstrate their value through 5 stages or propositions. It’s a framework to take competencies and apply them in a different set of combinations to assess value and benefit.


  • 1. The information profession has got to evolve; but how? Kate Arnold SLA President 2014 katearnold64@yahoo.co.uk LILAC 2014
  • 2. SLA • 8,000 members in 75 countries • 55 regional groupings (chapters) • 26 subject groupings (divisions) • Networking • Learning • Advocacy
  • 3. SLA membership
  • 4. Source: http://bit.ly/1tdmmwF
  • 5. Old to new skills From Waitresses Transactional Clerks I have it Supplicant Source: Nora Paul 1999 Leadership for News Librarians course, Maastricht, Netherlands To Tour guides Transformational Coaches I know who has it Pitchman
  • 6. Old to new skills Old Gatekeeper Online searcher Custodian of collections Service provider Information gatherer Library process Inward looking Source: Lesley Robinson Consultancy Services Ltd (www.lesleyrobinson.co.uk) New Collaborator Trainer Facilitator Information advisors Problem solver Business process Networker
  • 7. Old to new skills From technical experts … Technical experts Inward looking & reactive Gathering Provide information to others Work in a silo Unclear metrics Only work within comfort zone Source: FT/SLA survey 2013 To decision enablers … Multi-skilled Outward looking & proactive Distilling & validating Coach others to self-serve Integrated within organisation Clear metrics linked to strategy Happy to work outside comfort zone
  • 8. Source: http://bit.ly/1eTPZPl
  • 9. IFLA Future Trends
  • 10. Providers and users views ‘The evolving value of information management and the five essential attributes of the modern information professional’ www.ft.com/sla
  • 11. Top 5 cited challenges Knowledge providers • Everything is on the internet • Demonstrating value • Budget/financial constraints • Cost of access to info • Lack of understanding of colleagues/other depts Executives • Information overload • Filtering/sifting through information found • Relevancy of information • Up to date/most recent information • Speed & timeliness of information
  • 12. Attributes • Communicate your value • Understand the drivers • Manage the process • Keep up your technical skills • Provide decision-ready information
  • 13. Source: http://bit.ly/1gK5Ajs
  • 14. Source: http://bit.ly/1td36zb
  • 15. Source: http://bit.ly/QqTeCA
  • 16. Source: http://bit.ly/1i89mPE Source: http://bit.ly/1i89mPE
  • 17. Source: http://bit.ly/Qg0m58
  • 18. SLA’s Competencies 2003 • Managing information organisations • Managing information resources • Managing information services • Applying information tools & technologies 2014 • Creating & maintaining collaborative relationships • Managing information services & resources • Understanding & applying information tools & technologies
  • 19. CILIP Professional Knowledge and Skills Base
  • 20. • Source: Sandra Ward and Ian Wooler: The essential competence – demonstrating value. Online conference 2011
  • 21. http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1238333
  • 22. Sources http://trends.ifla.org (IFLA’s Future Trends Report) www.ft.com/sla (register to download FT/SLA survey) http://www.linexsystems.com/blog/item/sla-ft- report-summary (Sara Batts’ take on 12 tasks from FT/SLA survey) http://www.sla.org/slatalk-roundup-proving- value-information-services/ (Storify of #slatalk on FT/SLA survey 4/3/14) http://www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/jobs-and- careers/professional-knowledge-and-skills- base (CILIP PKSB) http://bit.ly/1irXc8D
  • 23. Katearnold64@yahoo.co.uk @katefromuk