You are a SPECIAL Librarian! You are a Military Librarian!

Military Libraries Workshop

This post is written by Angela J.A. Kent.  She was this year’s winner of the Student Stipend Award.

I had the honor and the pleasure of attending the Military Libraries Division‘s Military Libraries Workshop as their Student Stipend Award winner. The workshop touched on a number of issues in librarianship including, Copyright, Big Data, Social Media, and Virtual Libraries.  The workshop also featured SLA President, Deb Hunt, and topped off with a 60th Anniversary dinner at Huntsville Alabama’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Most of the presentation slides are now available and are worth reviewing.

Takeaways
Branding
This was the top takeaway for me. Although I missed Deb Hunt’s presentation, her point about investing in your own professional development was echoed in each session — including the 2-minute presentations vendors! Marcy Phelps emphasized the importance of branding your value-added research and analysis in big and small ways.

From an organizational standpoint, Jane Killian (from the Defense Forensic Science Center) showed how her virtual library still needed to be supported by physical presence and branding. Jane talked about taking different routes in the office so that she would run into her patrons and have the opportunity to share an article or research topic. And, like any good brander, Jill carries a signature style (a teapot!) that quickly connects her to the library.

For both the professional and the libraries that they represent, it is worth taking the time to think about your professional signature and how you can better brand and market their services. Organizing your professional online presence, then, becomes an important consideration and an issues that was raised in other presentations.

Harnessing (and keeping up with) technology
Steven MacCall’s presentation on social media raised the key points of technology adoption and deployment. And, as is certainly the case for military libraries, this means barriers related to cost and security. To address some of these challenges, the last panel provided lessons learned from their own libraries. Both of these presentations made think about a complementary session from the SLA Annual Conference: Strategic Leveraging of Social Media Content. What I find interesting about social media management is understanding through how the many online applications can (and should) serve different purposes.

Margie Hlava’s presentation on Big Data was representative of the true scope of what it means to try and harness technology. It also spoke directly to the work of librarians: extracting and making sense of data; organizing data through metadata cataloging and taxonomy; and data visualization. Margie touched on a number of key topics important to any library and information professional.  It reminded me of a course that I’d been meaning to take over at School of Data: A Gentle Introduction to Extracting Data.

Copyright
While not quite a featured component to the workshop, Gretchen McCord‘s presentation on copyright was an update on issues that are of personal interest to me. Along the same lines as “keeping up with technology,” information professionals need to keep up with copyright — particularly as they relate to Fair Use and Open Access.

Doing more with less and learning from one another
While certainly not unique to military libraries, the final panel represented just how well military librarians are practicing resiliency and adaptability. Panelists shared lessons learned, best practices, and solutions to overcoming everything from budgetary constraints to security limitations.

 

 

About Angela

Angela is an MSc. MLIS Candidate (The Catholic University of America). She holds a Masters in Security Studies from Georgetown University, a B.A. in International Political Economy, and a certificate in Apprenticeship in Teaching (Georgetown University). Her areas of interest include open source intelligence & grey information sources, information policy (open access) intelligence analysis, and international & defense relations. Angela is from Toronto, Canada.

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