“When you look at the library talent ecosystem, you’re able to see these three different sort of constituents, there’s one that sort of drives the rest of the conversation. And that is library.
And the reason we decided to focus on the needs of the library is because the needs of the library impact everything else.
In other words, number one, libraries are the source of the demand. And you’re the ones who are on campus, getting feedback from various departments and faculty on the research needs.
You’re the ones who are in your municipality. If you’re a public library who are hearing, what are the services that your community wants you to provide for them moving forward? And you’re the firsthand information, whereas training providers and consortia received this information secondhand or perhaps third hand.
And so the source of the demand for this expertise comes from the library. That’s one reason that we believe this entire conversation should flow through the library.
Number two libraries are the source of funding. Now we understand that libraries are a cost center in the broader economic model, but in this ecosystem, the funding flows through the library.
And so as a result, we believe that the library should have the final say on the products and services that are produced for them in this regard, because the money comes through that library cost center. And flows outward to the training provider or to the consortium.
And lastly, the source of assessment happens in the library.
So the library supervisors are the ones actually evaluating the expertise in questions. You’re the ones providing performance reviews at the end of the year. You’re the ones providing one-on-one meetings with employees to understand their goals and. The assessment of the expertise happens not at the training provider level, nor at the consortium level, but again, on the ground, Monday through Friday nine to 5:00 PM, that assessment is taking place back in the library.
So for those three reasons, we feel this entire conversation should be flowing through the library’s perspective. And there were a few requirements that we settled on.
If we were building a new solution to manage talent from the ground up, the first is that this has to be technological. There are no shortage of examples of people gathering together for a conference or a workshop, whether in person or online. And there are a lot of sort of analog efforts to collaborate. Pair people with mentors provide training, but something new from the ground up must leverage the power of automation and a lot of really interesting tools like artificial intelligence and more that allow us to do a lot more with a lot less. And so we didn’t want to reinvent another conference or community because there’s no shortage of those today.
Number two, this had to be affordable and we believe this before the pandemic and the austerity measures. But the costs of this have to be predictable and they have to scale up or down, whether you’re a tiny institution or a larger one, the cost should not prohibit any library from participating in this new, modern way of managing.
Thirdly, this has to be sustainable. We’ve seen many efforts funded by foundations and others to spark a new way of thinking around talent, but the cost winded up outweighing the initial. Funding that was delivered. And these really interesting projects that have taken place, we ended up phasing out two years or three years end because they weren’t able to figure out a business model that was sustainable or a labor model that was distributed where you don’t have too much of a burden on any particular part of the ecosystem. So the, both the labor has to be properly distributed and also the cost has to be.
Fourthly, but not least importantly, any solution from scratch today has to be equitable. There are rich conversations happening around the playing field, not being level. People are not receiving the same opportunities for growth and development based on circumstances outside of their control, whether it be race or gender. And as a result, if we’re designing something new from scratch. It has to push the conversation forward on creating opportunities for all people who are interested in growing and developing their careers.
And lastly, it has to be collaborative because what I learned through my career and also through this process was no matter what country we’re in, no matter which region or library type we are, there are common denominators when it comes to managing.
Information professionals and managing talent that surpass the type of library we are. So in order to reduce redundancy and increase those economies of scale, this must be a collaborative endeavor, which has its own implications on security and openness and privacy and things of that nature. So these are the five requirements for this conversation.”
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