The 14th Special Libraries Symposium
June 16th, 2009
The highlight of my time Monday at the 100th annual conference of the Special Libraries Association/SLA, in Washington, D.C. – besides meeting many interesting new people and reconnecting with friends and former students – was the 14th Special Libraries Symposium. I produce this event every year for the course I teach at the Catholic University School of Library and Information Science, The Special Library/Information Center. I bring together a group of librarians, who are generous with their time in giving back to the profession, to meet with my students to talk about their career journeys and the state-of-the-art in their work. Yesterday we had a large, talented and highly experienced group that shared their knowledge, experience and advice. Some of the common themes are applicable beyond the world of librarianship to the wider world of knowledge work: continuous learning (with formal classes, new degrees or otherwise), continually upgrading your technology skills and experience, marketing your services, being entrepreneurial, trying different areas of the profession before you find the one that’s right for you, being visible in your organization and developing your managerial and leadership talents, whether or not manager is your title. A number of the librarians had more than one graduate degree, including one with an MBA. Many came to the profession as a second career. Some are working, or have worked, for software vendors. All proved to be wonderful role models to the students and to other librarians and knowledge workers. Thanks to all who participated in this memorable event!