Pssst… don’t let tell anybody I’m a Librarian.

A couple weeks ago I went to a Wall Street Journal marketing event called Taste & Talk. We’d get to taste their wine as a promotion for WSJ Wine, and then we’d listen to people talk about how to use information in tough economic times. It was ostensibly a pitch for their Business Smartkit, which they wanted us to go back to our organizations and recommend. I commend them for only spending a couple of minutes talking about that, and really focusing on the food and wine (which I couldn’t have because of the whole vegan sXe thing) and networking. I like soft sells.

When I first received the invitation, I was confused why I was invited. It was clear once I got there librarians were a target audience. My friend was surprised that I could spot all of the librarians in the room, but I tried to explain that we sort of have Spidey-sense about these things. It was nice talking to corporate librarians about their roles in their organizations and how their careers have changed over the years. The most interesting part, to me, was the fact that none of them had the word “librarian” in their job title. It’s as if “librarian” is too dowdy or simple for the corporate world, but “information manager” is OK. This is why lots of people want to be called “information professionals” instead of librarians. I know the name issue is not new, but it still always astounds me.

I do like the idea of all these corporate librarians being SLA members and doing library things but under the cloak of “information professional”. It’s somehow subversive to me, like the fundamentals are still important but the branding isn’t.





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