Monday, May 2, 2011

A Diverse Universe: Managing a Library and Business Information Center

By Lois Ireland
My official title is Library & Business Information Services Manager.  The library part people get – it’s more or less typical corporate library services – research, ILL, acquisitions.  The business information services part causes some confusion.  Frequently people call me saying “I was referred to you about this, but that can’t be right – you’re the librarian!”
Like many librarians across SLA, my library staff builds websites.  We are the intranet gateway for colleagues within our division, which includes buildings & grounds, security, food & fitness and conference center operations.  We work with our co-workers within those areas – who know their stuff but don’t always consider the many ways other employees might be looking for them – to help them better serve their clientele by creating logical, easily navigated webpages with well-written, relevant content. 
Copyright questions are pretty standard for librarians to handle, but we also have responsibility for music and video licensing.  This covers including clips in presentations as well as playing background music as meetings get started.  Employees contact us to make sure the company stays in compliance with any restrictions.
A few years after I started at the company, I was asked to take over the corporate switchboard.  The logic was the library provides information to employees and the switchboard provides information to external callers.  Eventually, I got to design an automated phone attendant, one of those technologies we all love to hate.  Be assured, there is a true art to this design process.  I had to think about user behavior, taxonomy and synonyms while creating the menus and options that direct callers to the proper number.  Any calls that stump the system are routed to live operators during business hours.  In turn, if they’re stumped, they route the call to the library; we draw on our knowledge of the company to help callers get connected.
My videography/streaming team creates video files of meetings and programs, at the request of the business areas.  I worked with them to create a records management process which formalizes the retention and destruction of these video corporate records.  Video files are tagged with metadata to help them quickly identify and retrieve files.
My latest acquisition was the audio-visual team – the ones who set up the microphones, test the sound levels, bring in the projectors, start up the presentations and dial up the video conference.    I’m learning a lot about this set of technology!   Oh, and did I mention I handle the web conferencing service contract?
It can get hectic at times, when my day jumps from fielding a research request to checking on the status of A-V equipment to answering questions about web conferencing functionality.  But by taking on this seeming hodgepodge of roles, I’ve cemented my reputation with management for being curious, flexible and adaptive.
Lois Ireland is DC/SLA’s 2011 President-Elect.

No comments:

Post a Comment