“Our mission statement for the library is to provide actual intelligence to the employee base. At the end of the day, our purpose is to make sure that employees, for whatever reason they come to us, are smarter and more informed when they’ve left us.”
Library Director, Qualcomm
iSchool Alumna (MLIS 2002)
iSchool alumna Dolly Goulart started her career working in a public library. She quickly realized that, as a long term career, public librarianship wasn’t the best fit for her skills and interests and wanted to try out something different.
Goulart wasn’t looking for anything in particular when she found corporate librarianship, but immediately fell in love with it. She couldn’t get enough of the research aspect, the demand of the business side, and the opportunity to have an impact on business decisions and the company’s bottom line. Today she is Qualcomm’s library director, providing employees with the best information possible, and thrives on making them more knowledgeable each day.
The Many Functions of a Corporate Library
“Qualcomm is so many things these days!” Goulart laughs. “At the heart of it we’re a connectivity company: we develop intellectual property that enables your wireless devices to communicate. Our goal is to make sure that people are as connected, from a technology standpoint, as possible. But we’re also moving into the internet of things, connecting all the devices in your household. The whole idea of the smart home, smart city, smart car—those are all areas we research and provide intellectual property around.”
The library supports Qualcomm’s global population. Whether the employees are in California, India, Europe or Texas, Goulart provides a full time functional approach to library services.
There is a traditional, physical library space with books that employees can borrow and which can be shipped globally via their online catalog, “just like you would in a college library.” They also have library services considered “value adds”, including a content purchasing function, led by another iSchool alumnus, Greg Sorini, who is responsible for centralizing all of the enterprise content spending for Qualcomm. Sorini also works with third-party vendors to make sure Qualcomm has the right permissions to use the content.
“If we purchase something that everybody in the company has access to, that goes through Greg,” Goulart says. “His whole purpose is to extrapolate as much value out of our content as possible.”
Research and Analysis: Key Roles in the Corporate Library
The piece of the library that Goulart has “grown up” in, and where she dedicates most of her library skills, is the research and analysis function: a critical, high-value service provided to Qualcomm employees.
“It’s a very non-traditional library role,” Goulart says. “We do a lot of technology landscaping, looking at patents and intellectual property, and market landscaping, looking at market trends and competitive areas.”
Research analysis consists of two parts. The first is what Goulart refers to as a “proactive offering”: an editorial calendar featuring Qualcomm related business topics that the research team publishes bi-weekly. They also track mergers and acquisitions across Qualcomm’s business environment, and produce a quarterly report summarizing earnings, trends, and market analysis.
The second part is a more transactional function. “Anyone within Qualcomm can ask us questions,” Goulart explains. “We can either help you fish on your own, point you to the right resources; or depending upon the project and requestor, we will actually do the assessment for you.”
Goulart’s team, pictured right, includes (from left to right) Greg Sorini (SJSU alumna), Dilip Pandya, Tim Blazer, Deborah Robinson, Goulart, Isabelle Garcia, and Noreen Kinsler. They are responsible for putting together a complete packet of information based on the research question. Not just a pathfinder or list of resources, but a report detailing the research, assessment, content synthesis and analysis. “It’s a full, end-to-end deliverable back to the client.”
For Goulart, her co-workers are also her clients.
“Our mission statement for the library is to provide actual intelligence to the employee base. We don’t want to spend a lot of time doing pathfinders and lists of things for people to find on their own: at the end of the day, our purpose is to make sure that employees, for whatever reason they come to us, are smarter when they’ve left us.”
The Ideal Information Profession
At the iSchool, Goulart followed the special library path, with a focus on research, which helped her succeed in corporate librarianship. The course she says helped her the most was INFO 202, Information Retrieval System Design, teaching the classification of information.
“The reason that course was helpful to me in what I do was because it gave me a basis of understanding for how information is structured,” she explains. “And that’s important because as a researcher, if I know how it’s structured, I’m better at finding it.”
Goulart admits she has a personal interest in sharing her story and letting other iSchool graduates know what life is like in corporate environments: “We can never find enough talent to be able to fill the positions that we need!” she exclaims.
The background and skills are dependent on the specific job function, but generally Goulart looks for people with a strong basis in knowledge and information management. “The trouble we usually have is on the soft-skills side: the ability to always ask the question, to have persistence in getting the question answered. An innate curiosity that pushes you to constantly ask more and more questions, because that’s always going to make you improve on your service level.”
“And the customer service focus: we want you to be ready to serve the business and to do everything you can to make the employee smarter and more informed.”
Goulart stresses that if your researcher inner dialog says, ‘they shouldn’t have asked me that’, or, ‘they can find it on their own’—that won’t do at all. “We want people to have the mindset of, ‘I can always push myself to do better so the business succeeds more because of my involvement.’”
The bottom line about corporate librarianship, Goulart believes, is that it’s not what you might expect. There’s a lot of excitement and opportunity!
“If you’re in a good corporate library you have the ability to be innovative and come up with really great methods of information delivery,” she says.
“To be able to always be thinking ‘what can I do next?’ and having support for that is really fun, and really rewarding. To be able to say, let’s come up with some great ideas for getting as much information out there as possible, and making it findable, having an impact—all of the elements our library background builds us up to do.”