The value of reading

23Apr08

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
~ Joseph Addison  ~

I end up reviewing a lot of material in my firm. I browse blogs, enewsletters, as well as regular print journals and newspapers. In fact, reading this mornings’ round of blog updates, I came across this post from Steven Cohen on Library Stuff  about how he too reads a lot. The value this provides to our clients/patrons/firm members is huge, if only they’d take advantage of it. “Tell me what you’re working on”, I tell my firm, “and I’ll pass on anything I come across that may be of interest.” It’s like the serendipitous answer you get from browsing the written page or a print index, only on a larger scale.

So, how do I get this message out? Steven says “Market, Market, Market!” As I’ve always maintained, special libraries are 90% marketing, 10% library work. If you’re not an outgoing personality, you better develop one! Find opportunities to listen in on discussions between your colleagues, and figure out a way to segue into it with something relevant. Drop in on TGIF’s – after all, the firm members are networking, shouldn’t you be too? Take advantage of any inhouse communication materials, morning memos, your own newsletter, etc. to remind people what you can do. Sometimes it’s a matter of talking to one person at a time, until they finally hear you. Once you’ve reeled them in, make sure you continue to provide them with top quality information and service, and they’ll be yours for life, or until you decide to move on!

~ Karen

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One Response to “The value of reading”

  1. I completely agree. We can’t give our clients what they need unless we know what they’re working on.

    As info pros, I think one of our best assets is our ability to notice articles, reports, etc., that probably would have otherwise passed under the radar of our busy, distracted clients. In addition to the usual sources such as newspapers, magazines, websites, etc., I’ve heard critical pieces of information on local radio (then ordered transcripts) and just recently found something relevant – and unexpected – on a library listserv!

    So there’s the lesson – always keep your ears and eyes open, and you never know what you might find. (And lawyers love to talk about themselves, so there is rarely a problem getting them to tell you what they’re working on.)



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