ILTA White Papers

The New Librarian

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Generational Divides: Paper and Electronic Resources at the user base (sometimes it's easiest to do this by practice group). Issuing a survey will help you make hard decisions and give you something to refer to when you cut print materials or try to justify new subscriptions. You can always order books or electronic subscriptions again when needed. A/I and organize information that usually comes with a variety of use restrictions can be more than a full-time job. It is a job that cries out for a librarian! The new librarian often has a very large budget to manage. In law firms, that budget can be in the millions. Other groups that have large budgets usually have a lot more power in the organization than the librarian, but as electronic information providers seeking market share integrate content with practice tools, à la PLC, Thomson Reuters and LexisNexis, the lines between the library, IT, litigation and practice support, and business development and marketing are blurring. This changing landscape offers up many opportunities for the new librarian to step into other roles with more prominence, greater responsibility (and accountability) and higher compensation. Although not every librarian has a carpe diem attitude, and many look back at their former place behind the reference desk longingly, those who do seize the day will find it rewarding. Librarians who prefer to remain in traditional roles can fulfill many of the other information functions that continue to flourish as organizations have found that, Google notwithstanding, there is high demand for skillful researchers who know how to search and who can train others to find their own information. Self-service via a library-sponsored research portal is gradually replacing the physical library, which leaves the library to be more about services than a place. But providing a research portal that meets the needs of all researchers within the firm requires constant care in order to leverage new and merging tools, technologies and content. Where does all this leave the new librarian? In a very good place if she is willing to: • Look forward to the future instead of back at the past • Realize that what a librarian provides has never been about place but about service • Redefine her role as well as her value to the organization she serves For many years, librarians have bemoaned their relative lack of power and compensation as they compare themselves to other professions. The new librarian has the opportunity to change all that while making sure that the organization she serves is moving ahead in their management of and access to information. A/I AALL/ILTA White Paper 59

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