27. January 2017 · Comments Off on Congratulations to Barbara Alvarez on Embedded Business Librarianship Article/Book · Categories: Uncategorized

Congratulations to Barbara Alvarez, who was a guest columnist on this blog back in the summer of 2015 when she reported on the ALA Conference!

Barbara authored a piece in the ALA Magazine January/February 2017 edition entitled: Embed with Business: Taking your library into the business world found on pages 44 to 48 (the starting page to go to on the pdf viewer is page 46). Barbara also wrote Embedded Business Librarianship for the Public Librarian.

Below are some of my favorite passages from Barbara’s ALA Magazine piece:

“Instead of going to community functions to give sound bites about the library and why people should support it, or presuming to know how it can support them, an embedded librarian will attend meetings, join committees, and network in ways that emphasize the library’s desire to learn and understand the business community as a peer.”

“It is important not to seize this moment as just an opportunity to boost program attendance and door count numbers, but instead to put energy into forming and sustaining meaningful connections.”

“When members of the business community are informed about the resources, workshops, technology, or other ongoing engagement projects at the library, they are often amazed, intrigued, and prompted to learn more. This appreciation grows when librarians develop meaningful relationships and work with business people on committees and socialize with them in networking groups. This appreciation can become mutual advocacy. The library no longer has to tout its own accomplishments and worth because others will advocate for it. It is much more valuable to have peers vouch for an organization than to have the organization vouch for itself.”

“However, embedded business librarianship is not self-serving. It comes from a true and honest attempt to understand, learn, and be an equal partner. This means stepping back and listening-not just telling the business community what you think they want to or should hear. It also means demonstrating the library’s case, not just saying it. Embedded business librarianship recognizes that you do not know or have to know all the answers to the issues or struggles that the business community faces. You are going to work with them toward a solution, not try to be the solution.”

“Essentially, when you develop relationships with the business community, you are developing relationships with the entire community.”

“You may feel you need to be a business expert to get started in this role. That is not true. Having a business background can certainly be helpful, but an interest, curiosity, and desire to learn more about business are the most essential assets. The most important aspect is your knowledge of your library and your own eagerness and desire to make a difference. If a library professional possess these qualities, there is no reason that he or she cannot be an embedded business librarian.”

“As you continue in the embedded  business librarian role, you will go from an outsider who has to be clued into the community’s goings-on to someone who is aware of the latest developments, trends, and events.”

“This is a process that will take time. Have patience with yourself and with the community. Encourage yourself to learn new technologies, trends, relationship interactions, and everything else that comes with your role.”

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