Special Libraries Association (SLA) New England Features Special Libraries: A Survival Guide at Simmons GSLIS


Simmons GSLIS CE & Communications Director Kris Liberman, Dr. Toby Pearlstein, Dr. Elaine Martin, Professor James Matarazzo, and Dean Eileen Abels

"Libraries are more important than ever before. We need to change with the times," said Dean Eileen Abels in her welcome remarks at the SLA New England and SLA@Simmons Fall  Meeting held on September 27, 2013 at the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Dean Emeritus and Professor James Matarazzo and Toby Pearlstein '77LS, '87DA, presented guidelines from their book, Special Libraries: A Survival Guide, at the meeting's keynote address.

Matarazzo showed promising statistics for librarians looking to work in specialized libraries. "There are currently 22,000 librarians at retirement age. Salaries for special librarians are also keeping pace with the consumer price index," said Matarazzo. "This year, I received more job postings than I ever had before."

Pearlstein showed how library managers need to prove their libraries value to their larger organization and how to retool services to protect their positions. Matarazzo and Pearlstein emphasized that librarians should seek continuing education and perform routine assessments of services to create ongoing opportunities. By evaluating services and user needs, Pearlstein encouraged libraries to determine and implement information services that are aligned with their parent organizations' goals. The book outlines the steps to success in detail. Matarazzo and Pearlstein's presentation can be viewed on Slideshare and can be reproduced with permission.

Elaine Martin, Library Director of UMass Medical School's Lamar Soutter Library and GSLIS adjunct professor, attended the meeting and said, "Jim and Toby's presentation highlighted the risks library directors need to take today to keep their organizations relevant and close the disconnect between what services librarians are providing and what their users need. It was validating to hear that we are taking the appropriate steps to embed librarians in research teams and integrating e-Science initiatives into clinical work processes. Based on the presentation, I'm looking forward to reading the book to learn additional secrets to success."

In addition, popular SLA Annual conference presentations about change management and social media were presented respectively by Julie Williams of Genzyme and Ethel Salonen of MITRE. Additional sessions included Jacob Ratliff's discussion of hard skills in taxonomy, Fred Wergeles and Chris Hote's demonstration of analytical skills in competitive intelligence, and Barbara Ingrassia's interactive session where ideas were shared about how to "get the copyright message out there" to patrons.

"This is the one of the largest turn-outs we've ever had at an SLA New England meeting," said Leigh Montgomery, SLA New England president-elect. About 70 library directors, librarians, and Simmons GSLIS faculty, students, and staff attended the event.

Event details can also be found on Twitter at the hashtag #slanefall13.

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