Many have covered NCLA’s keynote address so I won’t repeat their observations. Instead, I’ll focus on 3 stand-out BLINC (Business Librarianship in N. Carolina) presentations that few others are likely to have attended.
BLINC sponsored 4 presentations including the one Mary Beth, Mary Krautter and I presented on entrepreneurial culture in libraries. As Chair of BLINC I was pleased to support my BLINC colleagues by attending their presentation which were about liaison responsibilities and outreach to targeted patrons.
First, Nancy Tucker and Sharon Stack from the Mauney Memorial Public Library in Kings Mountain reported on their ground-breaking program serving Kings Mountain’s business community. Sharon, the library’s director, had an idea for a completely new model for providing reference services. She partnered with Main Street, an organization whose purpose is the historic preservation and economic development of downtown commercial districts in small towns along with the city’s planning and economic development department. Together, these organizations wrote a grant that funded a business librarian’s salary for 2 years and associated programs.
The majority of the target businesses are small family-owned operations with 5 or fewer employees. The 3 partners developed a program that graduated 5 business owners in its first class. The participants learned how to create Facebook profiles and websites for their businesses, to promote themselves on social media and develop marketing plans. Nancy provided substantial support for researching the marketing plans. This is a creative approach to supporting economic development in a community and Nancy’s direct outreach to businesses is a new model for business librarians.
The next presentation was by Betty Garrison and Teresa LePors from Elon Univ. Betty is Elon’s business librarian and a member of BLINC’s Executive Committee. In this talk, Betty and Teresa shared their top recommendations for a successful liaison program:
– Be visible
– Show interest
– Build relationships
– Respond promptly
– Support colleagues
They gave examples of how each of these had contributed to a growing and active liaison program.
Finally, I attended Nina Exner’s talk “Engaging with Faculty Over Research”. Nina is the Assistant Head of Reference and Library Instruction at North Carolina A&T State University and a member of the BLINC Executive Committee. Her talk about supporting faculty research was a revelation as she discussed aspects of liaison work that I’d never before considered. She walked the audience through the phases of the research cycle and discussed various ways librarians could support faculty at each one. She described the phases thusly and provided ideas on service we can provide for each one:
– Literature search
– Funding (grant search)
At NC A&T, librarians provide support in a variety of formats directly or in partnership with the research assistance office including:
– Stand alone workshops
– Literature review searches
– Open/public access requirements and metadata support
– Cross referrals for consultations
Nina is available and willing to talk with librarians about this work and I think she’d make an excellent speaker for a future liaison meeting.