Epilogue – Special Libraries as Knowledge Management Centres

Epilogue

It is widely acknowledged that librarians have been acting as knowledge managers for years because they are the professionals who bring the right information to the right people at the right time to help them make the right decisions. This is particularly true for special librarians because they are aware of the subject domains of the organisation, but also of the associated experts all over the enterprise. Therefore, they behave as mediators to bring the right people with the right information and knowledge together. The activities of finding the pertinent documents and sources, locating experts and seeking answers to respond to users’ queries fall within the realm of the special librarians’ working life. Hence, the knowledge management centre is the modern name for what librarians have always done. They handle and organise knowledge and information.

In today’s intensively competitive and demanding conditions, special libraries need to invent and adopt innovative ways to pursue their survival. Information professionals should contribute to the organisational productivity and profits. The decision to usher the knowledge management centre to the special library brings evidence that the library’s role is recognised as a strategic partner in the company. This is why the success of the knowledge management centre is strongly influenced by the upper management’s support and endorsement. To date, knowledge organisation systems engage technology and place people in the centre of their efforts. Thus, the knowledge management centre at the special library is a combination of knowledge, information, technology and, mainly, people.

Because the role of information professionals highly depends on the attitude of the corporation’s executives, special librarians thrive to develop themselves in order to acquire the recognition of the executives as active and strategic partners. To that end, information professionals acting as knowledge managers need to regularly update their proficiencies and skills in order to stay competitive, viable and useful within the organisation and in the library profession arena. Special libraries have to chase the opportunity to remain the organisation’s centre that performs value-added work. For that reason, enthusiasm, willingness, cooperation, an open-minded attitude, interpersonal skills and ICT skills are only a few of the competencies that special librarians are required to possess today in addition to their traditional professional library skills when they undertake the administration of the knowledge management centre.

The value of the knowledge management centre becomes apparent when the content is added and the search is performed using the new platform of communication and sharing information and knowledge. After a while most of the knowledge flow of the company is operating via the knowledge management system. The set-up of the novel knowledge management project takes time, effort and incorporates collaborative activities, but the outcome is definitely effective and rewarding. It can transform the entire organisation, its corporate culture and procedures. The organisation faces the future armed with state-of-the-art projects. The result of the establishment of the knowledge management centre is that the prestige and the visibility of the special library are raised throughout the parent organisation.