How do you make life better and easier for your employer? Your colleagues?
What’s your unique value proposition?
Why you instead of somebody else?
These are questions that all of us, individuals and businesses, should be figuring out, because economic and technological shifts have been shaking even the deepest foundations.
After LAC Group’s participation in the 106th annual meeting and conference of AALL—American Association of Law Libraries—these questions came to the forefront.
AALL has been established and holding its annual conference for more than one hundred years, and it continues to be relevant. If any organization is qualified to talk about rethinking its value and purpose, it’s this one.
AALL represents law and librarianship, an industry and a profession that’s rooted in tradition and purpose. Yet, the legal industry has been undergoing profound change, so we applaud AALL leadership for conducting this year’s event under the banner of an important theme: Rethink Your Value.
Insights from 2013 AALL Annual Conference
LAC Group’s Michele Lucero summed up the conference this way:
“This is a period in which libraries are evolving; individuals are still concerned about their positions. As tools and resources become more sophisticated, budgets decline and librarians need to re-invent themselves as information professionals…. thinking about strategies and ways to collaborate and re-invent the library. This has been the case as we’ve seen over the past several years, but it is even more prevalent now.”
And from colleague Patrick Gleason:
“The focus was indeed on getting librarians to understand how crucial their role is, and to actively seek recognition for their work.”
Patrick attended a panel discussion on cost effective research in which a presenter suggested that law firm associates can greatly enhance their careers by forming an early alliance with the librarian. Skilled librarians will help them do their research assignments more quickly and thoroughly, which will enable them to prepare memos with the best information for any case or matter.
While Michele and Patrick are talking about law librarians specifically, we would expand their recommendations to all information professionals. The ability to extract seeds of knowledge from the deluge of data that is inundating every organization, from law firms to governments to commercial businesses, is more valuable than ever, which means that librarians and other information professionals are more relevant than ever.
Any of us can rethink our professional and personal value by:
- Increasing and promoting our sphere of influence.
- Being proactive about change, as both agents and managers of change.
- Staying ahead of the curve and on top of the latest services and tools.
- Gaining new skills that will increase our influence and power.
- Avoiding complacency and the safety of our comfort zones.
Michele sums it up nicely:
“This is a time when information professionals need to step up and be risk-takers with their leadership, and be a voice within their organization.”