Karen Kreizman Reczek, Candidate for Treasurer – Question #2

For me, the key takeaway from the Alignment Report is:

The SLA brand is not necessarily recognizable outside of our profession, and this causes a disconnect with how SLA and the profession are perceived by the larger community in which we operate.

As our esteemed leader, SLA CEO, Janice Lachance, once said, this isn’t about a name change, it’s about a game change. The playing field in which we operate has shifted…. It’s time to align.

Ever been to a party and had someone ask you what you do? My usual response is, "I am a corporate librarian." They say, "Oh, what’s that…?" When I begin to explain what I do, they say, "That’s not a librarian." Or last month, when I was telling my non-library friends I was giving a talk at SLA, I was asked, "What’s SLA?"  These consistent responses tell me that brands "corporate librarian" and "SLA" do not work, and it is time for us to invent new ones. The SLA Alignment Project is about branding and messaging. It will never change the fact that deep down, I am a corporate librarian — but it will change the image in people’s mind as to what I do.

The Alignment Project has already provided solid data to support this. It is time to stop describing ourselves in terms of our functional roles (e.g., catalogers, searchers, indexers, reference, etc.) and to start talking about the value, impact, and return on investment we, as library and information professionals, bring to our organizations.

SLA will need to develop clear messaging that articulates and promotes these concepts so that they can be delivered to our target audiences. SLA will need to provide tool kits and talking points that fit various scenarios (as our membership is as diverse as we are similar), to make it easy for our members to communicate their impact and value. Training sessions should be offered to teach our members how to deliver these messages in a convincing manner. All of this will ensure that we have a unified and consistent voice to tell the rest of the world why what we do really does impact the bottom line.

Our team is always focused on the most successful marketing campaigns, for example, if someone wants to buy cialis online, he knows where to do it because of the quality product and a strong brand.

3 responses to “Karen Kreizman Reczek, Candidate for Treasurer – Question #2”

  1. Mimi Calter says:

    I’ve had exactly the opposite experience at parties. When I give my job title, which has ranged from Information Integrator to Information Specialist to Knowledge Manager, the immediate reaction is, “what’s that?”. When I say I’m a corporate librarian or a reference librarian, they say “that’s great”.

  2. Alex Feng says:

    Could not agree more with Karen – I have the same experience. Ultimately, the brand is the hook that tells others what you do in a succinct and understandable manner – and “corporate librarian” isn’t succinct enough to others. (to us, it’s another story….)

  3. I think it varies with the situation and the individual. Some of my clients remember me as “that funny kind of librarian”, and I sometimes tell people I’m a librarian of fortune.
    But I, too, find that it’s often helpful for us to have other words that better surface the added value we bring to our users and clients.

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