Looking to the similarities not the differences

I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between the library sectors. Now big disclaimer as this is all my on opinion. I haven’t sought a lot of different opinions/perceptions from other members of the industry (no time). I can only rely on my own experience from working in a corporate library and being a shelver in a public library when I did my degree.

So disclaimer out of the way this is what I want to say – I think the industry is at the risk of siloing. Whilst we have respect and regard for the work of other members/sectors of the industry we keep to our own worlds. Association journals and magazines go some way to give us insight into the different issues and challenges faced by other sectors. These efforts are fantastic and informative however they in a way serve to further the siloing in highlighting the differences within the industry. As an industry I think that we should be focusing up on the similarities.

So where are the similarities? First and foremost we all have an overarching interest in facilitating access to information. Whilst unique, our broad aims are the same. We want our users to have access to information and to serve their information needs the best way we know how and we do awesome *high five*

The second similarity is the challenges we face as an industrty. This is where the industry seems to truely think that every sector has its own unique challenges, special challenges which no one else faces. We aren’t that special

We all are special however when it comes to the challenges we face I don’t think we are as special as we think. These are the challenges that I face as a member of the  law library profession:

  • Keeping up with changes and developments in technology
    Everythings changing! Be it a new database or changes to an old one, new apps, new technology, new updates, latest models they are everywhere!
  • User awareness and engagement
    In a corporate library it’s all about the hook. How you can make life easier for them or how you can improve something. In order to do this however (in my experience) its a bit of a battle against the ‘book repository’ stereotype. Once you break through only half the work is done. There’s the challenge of continually updating your knowledge on what is relevant to the users, creating new connections and maintaining old ones.
  • Training
    The best way’s to ensure that users get the most out of your training and tbh ensure that you don’t waste your time.
  • Continuing your own professional  development and learning
    Can I have some time!!! Just an extra 3 hours or so every day would be great thanks.

Familiar? Surely I can’t be the only one? Where can we talk to others about this? Either online or face-to-face. Lets hear from everyone. So no more siloing please, its a bit daft.


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