Thursday, June 5, 2014

Gearing up to attend SLA 2014 conference and more

This week I gear up to attend the Special Libraries Association (SLA) conference, my first librarian & information professional practitioner based conference in several years. Since beginning my studies, I have focused primarily on networking and presenting at academic conferences. However, next week will see me not presenting, but rather just attending presentations and networking with the practitioners, some of whom are library consultants, the population that I am interested in studying.


As I spent the day planning and scheduling the sessions to attend, I realised that at least one of those sessions or presentations was targeted at consultants. Cindy Shamel from Shamel Info Svcs & Ulla de Stricker from de Stricker Associates will present on Saturday June 7, 2014 at 8:00 am - 12:00 pm the presentation entitled "Maximizing Consultant-Client Partnerships: Key Success Factors" This I will miss, as I fly in on the next day.

I decided to look up any other sessions on consultants and some how discovered this "Consulting: Managing the Expectations" As I was adding it to my schedule, I realised (mournfully) that this session was presented at last year's (2013) SLA conference.

Apart from the plans to attend SLA, I want to also report this week on a number of finds pertaining to the subject of library consultants. Firstly, I found an additional article discussing the work of a library consultant from a report based on personal experience (Holt, 1984).

Secondly, I wish to report that after conducting a search on Linked in I discovered:
  • 1,154 results for "library consultant" (within quotation marks)
  • and a further 6,901 results for library consultant without the quotation marks.
The latter search revealed that some of my friends or persons within my LinkedIn network qualified as library consultants or at least did some library consulting in the past. From these findings, it seems to me that library consultants and library consulting is far more prevalent than what is documented.

All this comes in stark contrast to Service Canada statistics that documents that 0.0% of the Occupational group 5111 (which also includes the term "library consultant") are self-employed. (See This data again raises puzzling questions. Are those who are library consultants under-reported in self-employment statistics? Is it that those who report themselves as library consultants are not necessarily self-employed? Or are library consultant jobs considered a full-time contractual employment opportunity? These issues and more I grapple with as I prepare for my committee meeting which coincidentally will be after I return from SLA. 


Holt, R. M. (1984). Library consultant: Career or dead-end job? Library Trends, 32(3), 261-277.

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