Tasks for Modern Info Pros: A Brief Review

In October 2013, SLA published The Evolving Value of Information Management, a report summarizing the results of research commissioned by SLA and the Financial Times. The report, which was based on surveys of and interviews with information professionals and senior information users, identified five essential attributes for modern information professionals. The report also set forth a list of 12 key tasks that information professionals must perform to develop the five attributes.

In 2014, a few SLA members shared their thoughts about the 12 tasks. In this post, Libby Trudell, chair of the SLA Public Relations Advisory Council, recaps the key action items recommended by those members.


On 31 October 2014, then-SLA President Kate Arnold kicked off a new series of blog posts on the 12 tasks for modern information professionals. The 12 tasks, which originated with the 2013 report The Evolving Value of Information Management, provide a concise and actionable summary of the ways that information professionals create value for their organizations.

Following Kate’s posts, four SLA members discussed the ways they have embodied the 12 tasks in their work and provided tips for taking similar actions:

Leslie Reynolds talked about the task of understanding the business. “Consider an individual in your organization with whom you would like to work,” she wrote. “Do you know and understand his or her challenges? Take the time to ask this person some questions and listen to his or her answer.”

Nora Martin addressed the task of proactively creating solutions. “Consider the benefits of continuous learning, both personally (your own organizational skills) and professionally (skills to facilitate collaborative practice). Keep your eyes open for project management workshops in which you can get involved, either as a participant or facilitator.”

Tom Rink emphasized the importance of networking and connections. “Become actively engaged with your organization by joining committees, attending meetings and proactively sharing your ideas,” he wrote. “Meet people outside your usual work circle by volunteering to work on projects and task forces. Make every personal interaction, whether at the water cooler or via e-mail, a chance to strengthen a connection.”

Liz Turner tackled the challenge of working with reduced resources. “Create metrics, but remember that numbers don’t tell the whole story,” she wrote. “Ask colleagues to share their biggest concern or what they did not have time to do this week to uncover stress points. Be cognizant of your abilities as well as limitations—and don’t overstretch yourself!”

Each of these posts offers insightful personal stories, so if you missed any of them, it’s worth your time to read them now. A series of new blog posts on the 12 tasks will begin next week, immediately following the SLA Leadership Summit. Additional contributions are welcome, so please contact Stuart Hales if you would like to add your voice to this important conversation.

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