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Hold on to your library; we're in for a bumpy ride

The Wall Street Journal recently eliminated the position of its research librarian, Leslie A. Norman, and there have been a lot of mixed feelings.

In my view, this is an unfortunate hit for librarians and knowledge professionals across many types of organizations and sectors. As Leslie says, “… Reporters will probably spend 10 times our compensation trying to do their own research."

This is also known as biting off your nose to spite your face, and I’m telling you, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Timely access to high-quality information is no longer an organizational "nice to have," but a necessity that can impact productivity by up to 40 percent in many cases. The social library is one way organizations can do more with less.

In cases like The Wall Street Journal, social libraries can fill knowledge retention gaps and foster better organizational workflow to help weather workforce shortages. It might even prevent workforce reductions in the first place, because it turns libraries from cost centers into productivity hubs -- with the librarian as an effective mediator and manager of those resources.

In economic environments like this, a critical element to any organization’s viability is managing the risk associated with diminished revenues and reductions in workforces. Preserving the organization’s collective knowledge and critical IP to make sure that remaining employees are more productive and that knowledge doesn’t leave the organization will be a true test to one’s survival.

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