Why your business needs a librarian

And average salaries for various LIS information skill sets

business-librarian
When did it occur to you that your business needs a librarian?

  • It may have been when you realized that you’re not managing all those digital assets your company has been creating, and losing track of.
  • Or perhaps the legal department has been increasingly concerned about being able to retrieve relevant compliance records.
  • Or your sales team has realized it doesn’t know enough about what the competition’s up to.
  • Or your CFO has been pushing for more evidence-based decision making, with a focus on data and what those numbers are saying.

In every one of these cases, you realized that you needed a very specific type of expertise, whether you also knew that a librarian or other information professional can deliver the expertise you need to meet your challenge.

In fact, they can create the processes and systems you need for strategic advantage, then manage them to align with the goals of the organization.

“Organizations are increasingly deciding the smart move is to recruit specialists with expertise in finding, evaluating, organizing, or otherwise working with information and information assets,” notes Brad Rogers, LibGig’s Director of Recruiting. “It just makes sense given the data and content surround we’re all working within these days.”

Information expertise and what you can expect to pay

What are some of the ways librarians and information professionals can provide you with a competitive advantage? They can improve your bottom line in many ways, with highly valuable skills and relevant experience that can be immediately utilized. Following are just a few.
data-curation-analysis

Data curation, analysis and management

More companies are using data analytics to inform their decision-making. Data librarians can identify and evaluate best data sources, structure and manage data storage systems that support every department’s needs, identify and analyze data patterns that inform strategic decisions, and make sure that key data is preserved and easy to find.

Average salary, nationally: About $53,000/year, ranging higher or lower depending on geographic location, applicant’s years of expertise/experience and additional specialized skills, and the job’s managerial level.

Digital content management

When I say “digital assets” think podcasts, video spots, online marketing materials, product tutorials, photographs and more. They can be very expensive to produce – a three-minute professional-level video might run anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 or more.

As digital content has become central to every aspect of market or audience communication, smart companies are realizing what an investment they have in digital media and managing it as such. Digital content managers/librarians are skilled at organizing and then managing your digital content so that it can be endlessly repurposed, re-used, and updated at a fraction of the cost of new production.

Average salary, nationally: About $46,000, ranging higher or lower depending on geographic location, applicant’s years of expertise/experience and additional specialized skills, and the job’s managerial level.

Market intelligence / business research

All companies need to take risks to keep moving forward, but it’s important that they be informed risks. Business research librarians/information professionals are experts are providing all types of strategic information, including market analyses, competitor profiles, demographic trend data, regulatory overviews and updates, scenario planning, and due diligence research, among other critical information.

Average salary, nationally: About $43,000, ranging higher or lower depending on geographic location, applicant’s years of expertise/experience and additional specialized skills, and the job’s managerial level.

records-management

Records management

Managing an organization’s records used to be simple: stick them in a box, stick the boxes in a warehouse, forget they exist. Not so today. Regulatory rulings have made an organization’s records critical to financial and legal compliance requirements, so being able to organize, preserve, and retrieve all key documents is now a mandatory part of doing business. Records managers have the expertise to ensure that your organization has the records you need, when you need them, in the way you need them.

Average salary, nationally: About $46,000, ranging higher or lower depending on geographic location, applicant’s years of expertise/experience and additional specialized skills, and the job’s managerial level.

Three ways to work with librarians and information professionals

There are a number of ways to work with information professionals, depending on your organization’s individual needs and budget.

  1. Interns

One way is to “test out” the position by working with a student intern from a local Master’s of Library and Information Science program (see a geographic map of programs here) with an expertise in your required area. Although an intern is unlikely to be able to provide a professional-level or long-term solution, he or she will be able to give you a sense of how your organization could benefit from this type of expertise.

  1. Direct hire

Another way to bring information expertise in-house is to simply hire it. Job titles for professionals with the requisite skills might be:

  • Data curation: data librarian, data information specialist, data curator, data manager, data specialist
  • Digital content: digital content librarian, digital asset manager, digital information specialist, digital librarian, digital assets curation
  • Business research: business librarian, business information researcher, competitive intelligence manager, market research specialist
  • Records management: records manager, certified records manager, corporate records specialist, manager of records and information

These job title alternatives will help you research similar job postings in your geographic region and industry to create a good job description and also determine the relevant salary range.

  1. Outsource or augment staff without hiring

If you know your organization would benefit from a data librarian, digital asset manager, business researcher, records manager or other information specialist but you don’t have the time to invest in finding and hiring the right person (or you’d just prefer not to add to your staff head count), another option to consider is having someone do it for you.

It provides a way to bring the relevant expertise on board without having to go to the effort and expense of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and on-boarding a new staff member while also providing your organization with the flexibility to easily staff up or down as needed.

Information expertise delivers any business a competitive edge

No matter which approach your organization takes, bringing in the right information expertise is a smart way to boost your competitive edge and your bottom line.

Kim Dority

Kim Dority

Kim Dority is a library and information science (LIS) career adviser and consultant. As Adjunct Faculty at the University of Denver's Library/Information Sciences Program, she teaches graduate courses on alternative MLIS career options. Special Libraries Association (SLA) has awarded Ms. Dority the Rose L. Vormelker Award for her commitment to teaching and professional development.
Kim Dority
Kim Dority

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