Liz Blankson-Hemans – Candidate for Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect – Question #2
For me, the top takeaways from the Alignment Research Report are:
1) We need to align values with perception in the minds of our organizations, so that instead of describing ourselves by the tasks or functions we carry out (eg cataloguer, research librarian etc), we define these tasks in terms of the value, benefit and impact we bring to the organizational effort or bottom-line - such as "facilitating good decision-making", "advancing or enhancing business development opportunities", and so on.
2) Leveraging the equity or positive attributes of librariaship and all that it entails, whilst using more modern terminology or applications to describe who we are, and what we do – so for instance:
- "purchasing" instead of "acquisitions",
- "competitive intelligence and analysis" instead of "online searching"
- "trainer/teacher" instead of "library instruction"
Both individually, and as an association, adopting these findings will help to tick many boxes of benefits as we undertake the serious business of aligning ourselves and our profession to be meaningful and relevant to our organizations for the next 100 years and more.
It will help us achieve a clear sense of purpose, which may not necessarily be in the boardroom, but on our own terms and perceptible contribution to the organizational effort. It will lead to recognition in the marketplace as critical assets within organizations. This kind of recognition will help to draw new and younger members to "the profession".
But what will that "profession" be? The alignment findings suggest that we have some work to do to come up with a name for this profession that resonates with the high value words and ideas that we as professionals generate. This name also needs to embrace and appeal to all who may see it and think – "yes, I do that" or "I can identify with that".
As our leaders have reiterated several times, we require not just a simple name change, but a total game change. I don't have all the answers yet, and judging by the discussions on the blogs, neither does anyone else – but the key thing is that we have began the discussion and brainstorming of ideas. Are you part of the debate? Now is the time for your voice to be heard as we begin to "align in 09".
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