By Judith A. Siess
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Additional info for The Opl Sourcebook : A Guide for Solo and Small Libraries
It is not, as some think, only gathering information about one’s competitors. It also includes information about a company’s customers, keeping up with technology, and anything else that makes the company better What Is an OPL? ) Librarians are exceptionally well qualified to do CI. We are trained to search for, analyze, organize, and disseminate information. We are experienced in working in an interdisciplinary environment. We already have our own networks. Other traditional library competencies that transfer well to CI include online searching, the reference interview, current awareness, knowledge of bibliographic tools, computer skills, written presentation skills, and time management.
She was the company’s first professional librarian, hired to organize 60 years’ worth of materials. She began with an initial staff of three, which grew to seven (two of whom were “qualified” or professional), then she was downsized to a OPL. , but suffered from a less reliable postal system and a weaker communications infrastructure. (When I visited in 1996 I was told that there was only one T-1—high-speed—communications line out of the country. S. Louw noted the professionalism and difference in attitude needed by a corporate librarian: An International View 41 • “It is not unusual for a newcomer to the staff of a company library to have to learn to accept [that the library staff is employed to save the valuable time of more highly paid officials] and to adapt to this approach, particularly if such a person had been working in a public library.
The country has good special librarians, ones who are well educated, professionally well-read, and able to network well. However, they have had problems with downsizing, too, partly due to the lack of information to back up the need for library services. A survey conducted by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) in 1997 showed that only 47 of 83 top 100 companies responding had a library or information service (Walsh 1998). ALIA didn’t expect this to change because 92 percent of the companies without a library said there was “no chance” of allocating funds for one in the next 12 months.