‘I Joined SLA So I Could Make Connections’

Several words could be used to describe Tina Franks’s library career. Public. Corporate. Academic. Children. Engineering. Architecture. Solo.

But if you ask Tina to describe her library career, she’ll probably use just one word: trusted.

“At one time, the company president [at her then-employer, Burgess & Niple] hired me out to one of our clients that needed help working on their library,” she told Information Outlook. “I think that’s because I had built a reputation as a trusted member of the team, not just the librarian down the hall.”

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Essential to building that reputation were the connections she formed and lessons she learned after joining SLA, which introduced her to a network of librarians working in similar environments and facing similar challenges. Those connections and lessons have multiplied over the years as Tina has moved from the corporate world into academia, becoming head of the Architecture Library at The Ohio State University in January 2014.

“Within SLA, I’ve bopped around and gotten a perspective from different units,” she said. “And each time, people [have been] more than willing to share their knowledge. If I needed a particular resource, people would get back to me. We’d all try to help each other out.”

Now Tina is returning the favor, serving as a conference planner for the SLA 2016 and 2017 Annual Conferences. At SLA 2016, she presented a poster and a contributed paper and was the featured speaker at a session titled “Trusted Librarian: Corporate Techniques Build Constituent Loyalty.”

“Am I giving back to my profession? Yes,” she said. “Am I sharing with my colleagues? Yes. But . . . I joined SLA so I could make connections and tap into that network of sharing, so it’s been very beneficial for me to build a portfolio of colleagues across the world.”

To learn more about Tina’s career and the lessons she’s learned—especially the need to diversify her skill set and “connect the dots” from one job to the next—read the interview.

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