Innovative Approaches in Corporate & Government Libraries

Innovative Approaches in Corporate & Government Libraries

Thanks to Library & Archives Canada (LAC) a study we conducted for them in the Winter of 2010 has been published in Computers in Libraries.  The study was to “identify innovative service trends in library and information services in the government and corporate arenas… as part of a Library and Archives Canada (LAC) research project to inform the Government of Canada Assistant Deputy Ministers Task Force (ADM Task Force) on the Future of Federal Library Service in gaining a better understanding of future-oriented service delivery models adopted by corporate and government libraries.”

I’ll let you read (or scan) the article for the details we could share. Here’s a brief summary:

After an exhaustive literature search we interviewed 18 corporate and government libraries recognized by the library sector as “innovative” based on the libraries’ long-term success and demonstrated ability to successfully initiate progressive services were identified.  The interviews were designed to probe the building blocks defined by the ADM Task Force:


We found the trend among these information service organizations is to enhance or totally reconfigure current services, and further to focus on services that are aligned directly into the clients’ workflow and are helping clients build required competencies through training (particularly e-learning).

How are the findings being used?

“The goal of the ADM Task Force is to redefine a federal libraries service model. The research demonstrates that there are basically four dimensions to consider when aiming for that goal:

1. Enhancing the services for which libraries have long been famous and valued, such as quality-controlled answers, provision of authoritative information, due diligence, and keeping clients current for the digital era (Innovations range from interacting with clients and delivering content and services to mobile devices to customizing alerts into on-point synthesized briefings.)

2. Reconfiguring physical spaces previously used for collections into collaborative workspaces

3. Leveraging professional expertise to promote client self-service through elearning platforms or in-person training in the effective use of content tools, library services, or project-specific, high-end content applications

4. Aligning information services with, and embedding content directly into, client workflows

The findings of this research study were used by ADMs to target the key areas they believe will propel federal library service toward a new, streamlined, and comprehensive service delivery model. At present (spring 2011) plans are being developed to test the delivery of clustered (based on groups of libraries with overlapping subject interests) and centralized (generic back-end services available to all) services as options that will leverage library professional expertise to benefit the Canadian public service.”

Our thanks to Deane, always a pleasure to work with – her humour and ability to articulate complex concepts is a pleasure to behold! Deane is manager of the Federal Libraries Coordination Secretariat at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), responsible for providing strategic guidance to enable LAC to “coordinate federal library service” and “provide leadership and direction for library services of government institutions” as mandated by the LAC Act, focusing bridging the gaps between the information disciplines (library and information science, archival science, and recordkeeping) and to capitalize on the resulting synergies.

And to Richard Hulser, for an incredibly investigative literature review and proving, once again, that working virtually with us on Skype is completely transparent.

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