SLA Presentation.ppt

By Ellen Wagstaff
ATK Aerospace
27 Apr 2012
Companies go through cycles and repeat them as time goes
on. I have been through them all and repeated several in 27
 Growing – increase the amount of business currently
 Stabilizing – maintain or slightly improve the amount of
business generated
 Retrenchment – management attempts to protect the
amount of business being generated
 Downsizing or divestiture – strategy to eliminate a SBU that
is not generating a satisfactory amount of business and has
little hope of doing so in the future
Thiokol (ATK)Library started in 1960
First librarian was an engineer with no library background—
he started straight out of college and was given the
responsibility to organize the engineering collection of
books and papers.
Started his own numbering system for technical reports,
which is still in use today
Developed a new way to classify documents by subject—it
involved tiers and large subsets—it was very involved and
not user friendly
No computers
Everything done by hand—typewriters
We had a copier that was designated for “Library Use Only,”
which was great. There were only a few copiers in the
Management style was regimented—very “military” oriented
Staff numbered eight and sat lined up in desks like “ducks in
a row”
Company policy dictated that any book, magazine, report,
etc. had to be approved by and ordered through the Library.
This gave us a great deal of clout but created a bottleneck.
Added access to OCLC and started doing interlibrary loans
Computers were moved into the library—with Bernoulli
tapes for backup
Six months after I was hired, the Challenger accident
occurred and layoffs started. A freeze on budgets was in
place for 18 months.
The shuttle redesign brought new work and an infusion of
money from NASA . The library grew like crazy.
 Went electronic with specs and standards
 Added more periodicals
 Weeded and upgraded the collection
 Remodeled the library—went from gray linoleum to blue
carpet and matching tables and chairs
We went through several management changes and were
moved from organization to organization.
 HR
 Training and Development
 Engineering
 Publications—where we still report today
 Our new boss knew nothing about libraries but was
willing to learn and listen to us. His management style
was very team oriented. It made all the difference.
 The Publications department had the skills and resources
necessary to help us start marketing in a big way.
Survey of users
Service/comment sheet sent out with each filled request
Handout in the new hire orientation booklets
Open house when library remodeled
Hosted ULA one month and had a tour and luncheon
Started a column in the weekly company newsletter
 What new books were available—this one backfired—we
offered new books on furthering your career and older
management types complained
Over the next 20 years, the company did well financially and
our budget grew.
 Added companywide electronic access to specs and
 Moved library to a larger area
 As employees retired, they were replaced with computers.
We were able to keep services at the same levels as before
 Less paper but more electronic records
 Library was moved again to a larger location. We had 8 study
cubicles, a sofa in the reading area, a TV / VCR to preview
safety videos, and a Wi-Fi connection
Interlibrary loans were great but we cut back on periodicals due to
space, money, and the demand for a larger range of titles. This
meant a cut in our budget.
 As collections went online, we no longer were required to keep
hard copies. This meant a loss of users and foot traffic
 Policies/procedures
 In-plant handling manual
 Specs and standards
 New hire orientation moved to online so our brochures turned into
a blurb about library services instead of a handout they could keep.
 Major downfall was the loss of our core clientele. With the loss of
the Space Shuttle contract, massive layoffs started four years ago.
We have gone from 7,000 to 1,500 employees.
With no new money coming in, R&D was hit hard and many
of the engineers left. This was our core clientele.
Overhead budgets were cut to the bone. The library
department has always been an overhead department .
Unable to charge to other divisions—as engineers
transferred to other divisions, they still wanted us to do
searches and order ILLs for them. Because our accounting
system is not set up to do interdivisional charging, I am
unable to help them even though I have the time and
Downsizing - facilities were closed and people moved tighter
together. We lost valuable floor space.
Transfer of more responsibilities to you without an increase
in your budget, i.e., safety video collection
Kingdom building—other departments start to horde
materials and develop their own collections trying to show
they have value as a group. This leads to duplicate efforts and
money wasted. Eventually it all ends up with you anyway.
Services are dropped because there is not enough manpower
to continue to do the job or do it thoroughly. Lots of
information and resources fall through the cracks and are
At this point, marketing doesn’t help – everyone is struggling
to stay afloat and keep their employees.
 Search skills – New engineers come out of college
knowing how to use Google but they don’t have the
expertise, the breadth of knowledge, or the
resources to do good research.
 Archives – I took over the archives in the early ’90s
and learned to write retention schedules.
Organizations are required to keep their records for
legal, fiscal, and historical reasons. This is a needed
position and dovetails nicely with my library
 I have become a one-person library.
 I am an on-demand library now. I order
as items are requested. Because I have
all the accounts and systems already in
place, I am considered a “valued”
 Because my department was hit hard, I
had more jobs added.
 Unofficial company historian
Bottom line is $$$ and ROI
 Can you show you add value to the company?
 Tangible results
 Benchmarking
Align with highest management level you can
 No more than two steps below VP
 Attend department meetings at highest level you can—gives you an
insight to where the company is going and what projects they are
pursuing—this gives you a heads up on where to focus
Overhead is deadly
 Charge back to specific projects—don’t charge to overhead if you can
help it
Have a champion—someone who will fight for you and your services
 The more the better—realignments, layoffs, etc. can occur any time
Network within the company—and keep those connections
even when they no longer work for the company.
Don’t become complacent. Things change overnight—
Expect change and be flexible
 Thiokol has been sold or merged five times in the 27 years I
have worked there.
 Each company had its own culture, vision, and mission
 Some put emphasis on the library, others didn’t.
 Management styles changed.
ALWAYS be prepared to advance or move—NEVER say “It
won’t happen to me”
Network, network, network
Keep your resume up to date
Add to your skill set
Keep up to date on newest trends in electronics and
information, new software
Consider outsourcing your services to your company
Browse through current job openings to see what
requirements, certifications, job experience, etc. are being
called for. This gives you an idea of where you can improve.
Consider a horizontal job move
 Competitive intelligence
 Records management/archives
 Records management/library services often combined
 Find a niche
 Hone your search skills—users can Google and wiki search but
to really do an in-depth search, they don’t have the tools or
 More companies moving to EDMS systems:
 Become an expert on metadata and how to data map—
information is not usable in any format if it’s not indexed
Read monthly editorials in Info Tech by Stephan Abrams or his
blog, Stephen’s Lighthouse
Don’t put yourself in a box—when jobs are few there is a fine
line between professional and clerical—you may end up
doing both.
Be flexible—be willing to pick up additional responsibilities
 Job depth – adding tasks that require a wider range of
skills usually including autonomy
 Job scope – number of different activities required in a job
and the frequency each activity is performed
 Job enlargement – adding more similar tasks
IT services – IT doesn’t understand user’s need
 Become a liaison between user, vendor, IT
 Procurement/password/security control for services—especially
important when layoffs occur
 Copyright expert on electronic media—how many copies can be
kept, can you email outside the company
 Keep your memberships up to date
 Volunteer for local leadership positions within SLA, ULA
 Get involved—get your name recognized
 Volunteer for the company Family Day, 5K runs, Science Fair
judging, help plan the department Christmas party, etc.
 Volunteer outside the company – Scouts, church, professional

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