‘It’s Not about the Place . . . It’s about the Service’

Like the receptionists who sit at front desks and answer incoming telephone calls, librarians have become more scarce in businesses over the past several years. But Lois Ireland—who once programmed an automated phone attendant that was being installed at her organization to replace onsite telephone personnel—believes that librarianship is still a good profession to enter.

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“There are opportunities for librarians, but they may not be what we think of as traditional library opportunities,” she told Information Outlook during a recent interview. “. . . It’s not about the place, and it’s not about the stuff. It’s about the service. For someone who’s interested in providing that kind of service and has a research mindset and a logical way of thinking about things, this can still be a good profession to enter.”

Lois credits her service ethos to her two stints in public libraries, though she has spent the bulk of her career at Freddie Mac, her employer for the past 18 years. “Working in public libraries, your customer service skills get developed in a different way,” she said. “I think it builds empathy, because the user base is so diverse and the needs are so varied.”

To learn more about Lois—including how she helped the library at Freddie Mac acquire a reputation as a knowledge hub and why she decided to become more active in SLA—read the interview.

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