Tasks for Modern Info Pros: Proactively Create Solutions

In November 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 5 essential attributes of modern information professionals and set forth 12 key tasks they must perform.

Several SLA members have agreed to share their thoughts about the 12 tasks. In this post, Laura Pike-Seeley asserts that proactively identifying problems and creating solutions is the key to the future of our profession.


Do you require an “activation phrase” to get moving? No one wields them more effectively than our bosses, who use verbs like prioritize, initiate, and collaborate to help conscientious information professionals defy the temptations of inertia. Our clients and patrons can do the same merely by uttering the word help, a word no one in our field can easily resist.

But what happens when we resolve that no activation phrase should be necessary to avoid the status quo? That magic words aren’t required to shake us from our reactive ruts?

That’s not to say that the status quo isn’t working, or that our inertia doesn’t yield the results required of us. But for the modern information professional, meeting the expectations set by our organizations is simply not good enough. If one thing is clear, it’s that our resource centers are, in general, undervalued, understaffed, and underutilized, especially considering the incredible talent and resourcefulness present in our field today.

This is why proactively creating solutions for our organization is so critical to the future of our profession. Technology, industry and communication are in flux, while the lens through which many people view librarians has remained unchanged. Communicating and demonstrating the many ways information science and information professionals can improve processes is one way we can change this dynamic.

To create solutions, you must first identify problems. This doesn’t happen from behind a closed door—integration and collaboration with colleagues from all levels of your organization are crucial.

As an information professional, you are equipped to offer solutions in resource management, knowledge management, internal communication, taxonomy, competitive intelligence, heritage protection, and many other areas. So, start creating solutions by taking these actions steps:

  • Be curious;
  • Make new contacts; and
  • Find out how your co-workers are struggling, where tasks are being duplicated, and where your skills could make a difference.

This is called leadership. It’s how you secure your job and create positions for those who come after you. Your fellow information professionals will learn from you that they hold the keys to their activation—no phrases necessary.

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