From Change Comes Growth

05Aug11

As someone who has undergone personal and professional changes recently, I nod my head in agreement to the idea of that growth comes from hard times that have passed. Hat tip to Teresa Austin for the headline.

I was inspired by Teresa’s words about life being defined by cyclical changes. If I am in turmoil right up to my eyeballs in muck inevitably coping with changes, I don’t have perspective. And many times tremendous growth comes from difficult changes. I hope that you will read through some thoughtful posts about how librarians dealt with the Great Recession, and came through the other side with some insights at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog.

I work for a major Bay Street law firm that merged with another Bay Street law firm. There are bound to be growing pains as we have transitioned into 400 lawyer firm. In my little part of the puzzle, our Library and Knowledge Management Department grew by 4 staff members coupled with the daunting task of merging 2 substantial print and electronic collections by an uncertain date. As library professionals, our strengths tend to be task focused. But I am proud that we have been able to implement and execute merging and weeding 2 collections, while simultaneously carrying on our regular work. It is no small feat. I was concerned about expectations for merging in  a month’s time, or even 6 months time. As a department, we needed a consistent message across multiple channels to all stakeholders about the status of the library. Sometimes there were missteps and confusion, but ultimately I am granting us a couple of gold stars for being able to integrate staff, execute special projects with little interference to the usual research needs, and communicate to all stakeholders. Communicating in different ways to the various target groups is key to success. We implemented some project management principles to help keep us on track. In particular, we used the RASCI tool to help clarify responsibility for activities and decisions.

At one point I said that I am starting to realize the scope of the project was greater than I first thought. But as a department, everyone  — from library director to library technicians  — rallied around the project and we may see final completion later this year.

– Brenda Wong

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