I read a great article in the ABA Journal entitled, Does It Pay to Hire a Law Firm Librarian? by Patrick Lamb. I though Lamb offered a very pertinent discussion about the future of law librarians and about staying relevant, particularly the points about about knowledge management (internal and external), resource evaluation and finding information and making it pertinent.
Lamb touched on the notion that we have a unique role in that we touch vendors as well as many internal departments and consequently have a deep and unique knowledge base of both internal and external information bases. As this articles suggests, it is important that we spread that message and take advantage of opportunities that may arise.
One point I think Lamb missed was ability to critically analyze and present information Through experience, education or both, librarians are and can be subject matter experts who take large amounts of data and distill it into relevant summaries of information. If you send out a newsletter of selected stories and summarize the contents, you are doing this. If you summarize, however briefly, the results of a research request (yes, even highlighting the pages to review), you are doing this. As Lamb notes, with more and more data out there, the art of honing in on what is important will be a highly desirable skill.
I was a little surprised to see how “a small group” of librarians allegedly characterized their value to an organization, based on the results of a “recent survey.” Not that the characteristic noted are not important. I like loyalty as much as the next person! And my cataloging skills are so nonexistent, that I am grateful for anyone who has that ability. But I am not the audience to impress. What the comments lack is a tie back to business values and an adequate description of what unique skills librarians have to support those business values. Those are the sorts of characterizations that make decision makers pay attention.