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What makes special libraries special v2

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Adapted version of a presentation made to Cilip South West Library Safari, 2014
and to Chartership candidates during a vitual tour of a government library and information service.

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What makes special libraries special v2

  1. 1. What makes special libraries special? Photo credit. Flickr user: Dr. Keats What makes special li
  2. 2. What is a special library? • Longleat House Library & Archives • BBC Information & Archives • Met Office Library & Archive • Bristol Law Society Library • Environment Agency Evidence Services • Burges Salmon Knowledge & Information Services • GCHQ Information & Knowledge Services At it’s most simplest, a special library is defined as a library that is not academic, public, school or national library. It is a library that is usually found in the workplace, serving a specialist organisation that might include business, industry or government, law libraries or health-related information centres. It’s often described as a peculiar breed of libraries, where the most important customer is the management of the organisation. The special library facilitates the work of the parent organisation, manages its information and knowledge resources and seeks to increase the competencies of the staff. This presentation focuses on the work of government libraries.
  3. 3. What do special librarians do? • Evidence Support Officer • Rapid Evidence Reviews • Knowledge Manager / Officer • Records Manager • Data & Information Process Officer • Technical Specialists • Freedom of Information Officer • Metadata lead • Research Support If you want to work in government library and information roles, prepare to be flexible! The sector has gone through huge changes over the past few years with spending reviews and changes in the delivery of information having huge impacts on the roles of library and information professionals and the shape of the service they work in. Many government librarians started off in traditional style libraries, but are increasingly working in other professional areas, including records management, managing Government Digital Services (GOV.UK), knowledge management, FOI, legislation information managers, information security or evidence based roles in research including rapid evidence reviews.
  4. 4. “I don’t recruit a records manager, or legislation experts, or web content managers, I recruit information professionals. Understand that I am looking for people who are flexible, and agile, and prepared to use the skills common to all these roles.” Karen McFarlane, Head of Profession, GCHQ, Cilip Update, October 2011.
  5. 5. The Drivers • Efficiency Save staff time searching for information by making sure it is organised and relevant • Cost savings Save money by reducing un-necessary storage and management costs, reducing spend on external sources of information and contractors • Integrity & reliability Understanding what information we have. Preserving the corporate memory • Legal compliance Help us avoid organisational fines or reputational damage by ensuring that we comply with legislation, including FOI
  6. 6. Challenges • Geographical spread • Diverse user base • Levels of information need • Broad range of information literacy • Communication channels • Budget • Space • Fast paced information environment 6
  7. 7. Collaborative contracts 7
  8. 8. 8 Case Study 25 staff 8 regional libraries 1 Head Office National Library and Information Service (1994) 16 staff 1 centralised service. Moving towards online delivery of eresources. Physical research library + Info Spec. Information Services (2005) Budget £1.5m 19 FTE Combined service of library, records management and knowledge management. Loss of Info Spec, Knowledge Management (2008) Budget £0.8m 1.6 FTE staff Part of much wider team of data and information professionals. No physical library. Digitised collection. Information Resources (2010- 2014) Budget £0.5m Case study adapted from the time line of a government library between 1994- 2014
  9. 9. Week in the life... “What’s the normal levels of polonium 2- 10 in the environment?” “How successful has the implementation of plastic bag tax been elsewhere, particularly in EU?” Writing guidance on formatting citations for a published report Demonstrate how to edit an entry on internal wiki Presenting training on finding grey literature “I want a free copy of a construction contract template”. “Looking for the original data that was used to collate the research findings in x report. Can we release it?” “I need to find research on female snail penises.” Uploading documents to digital library Propose a change to the Metadata Scheme. Seek authorisation from Metadata Working Group
  10. 10. Further reading • Cilip Government Information Group. Working in government. http://www.cilip.org.uk/government- information-group/working-government • Network of Government Library and Information Specialists. http://www.nglis.org.uk/ • Government Knowledge and Information Management Profession http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/networks/knowle dge-information • Special Libraries Association. http://www.sla.org/

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