National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Kansas City, MO USA
What I am doing now.
Currently, I am part of a 3-person library team for a membership association that serves state insurance officials and their staff, as well as internal staff in our organization, which has 3 offices in the United States (New York, Washington D.C., and Kansas City). Working in a special library means I get to do a variety of tasks, including in-depth research (industry, news, legal/regulatory issues, emerging technologies), marketing and promotion of services and resources, collection development, ILS administration, cataloging, website maintenance, and writing technical summaries/ reports. We also provide staff support at national meetings and use the opportunity to promote our resources and services to state insurance commissioners and other government agencies. Working in a small team is really rewarding, as each of us has our own strengths; we collaborate well together in order to provide quality information to all our key stakeholders. Our library is currently focusing on moving from knowledge distribution to more of a knowledge management role, which I’m excited to learn more about going forward.
What are the most valuable skills I use in my job?
My background is highly focused in reference/research which is quite helpful because being resourceful and creative in tracking down information is crucial in my job. Using resources outside what we purchase for the collection – such as local public library databases, professional industry organizations, subject matter experts, etc. – has proved invaluable at times. The reference class and foundational courses provide a nice background for this: from tracking down sources, to the reference interview, to conducting complex search strategies – all this is essential in my day-to-day work. Indexing and classification are also skills I use when assigning Library of Congress subject headings to catalog records – we don’t use MARC so all records have to be created from scratch. The indexing class I took has come in handy for that! Keeping in mind how users search, find, and process information is important, especially in web design and cataloging. The end user is always in the forefront of my mind when I’m deciding how to present/index information or design a flyer, website, etc. In today’s tech environment, it’s important to know at a minimum basic web design (thank you, INFO 240!) and how to navigate – and possibly administrate – an ILS. Along with the “hard skills” the iSchool teaches remember that “soft skills” are are just as important: Be curious and never stop learning. Think creatively and strategically. Be a risk-taker; don’t be afraid to broach and implement a new and innovative idea if you think your patrons could benefit. Even if it doesn’t work out, there are always lessons to learn; it’s only a failure if you fail to learn from the experience!
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Send email to: Stacey Mitchell