Give us the back story – what does this team do?
Our Library started in 1929, 35 years after the company was founded. It originally reported to the R&D group and supported the company's research laboratory. Initially, we had just one librarian and we now have a staff of five and serve all of our company's departments worldwide with research and information relevant to their functional areas and projects. Library job duties are split up by function and staff members are strategically cross-trained on each other's jobs and responsibilities.
What services/products do you provide and how are associates currently utilizing the library?
It's simple, in theory. We provide information to help associates at Purina excel at their jobs. This may be done through our on-site collection, electronic publications and databases (or outside sources). Our collection consists of subjects of interest to the company, such as veterinary science, professional development, brand management, packaging and nutrition, just to name a few. We offer current awareness alerts to keep associates informed of subjects that matter to their jobs as well as in-depth literature searches. One of our most popular offerings is access to language learning, such as Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone. Another resource we offer is the Archives collection. This project preserves important company artifacts like packaging, photos and advertisements. These materials help to connect our associates with the company's culture and heritage.
What are some of your short term and long term goals your team has to keep the Library growing and to generate more awareness?
Short term, we look to raise the visibility of the Library within the company by promoting our services at company events, with signs and through outreach. One example is a book exchange to celebrate National Library Week, which received very positive feedback. We are also a stop on the campus tour that new associates receive on their first day at Purina. Looking more long term, changing with the times is important. As more and more people access information electronically, we will continue to change to meet those new expectations.
What would you say is unique about the Library that others may not realize?
Some have a preconception about what a library is. This notion is generally based on public libraries. While our jobs as information professionals may require some of the same skills used in the public library, corporate libraries are not the same as our public counterparts. Along with law, government, museum and medical libraries, corporate libraries are considered “special libraries.” The collections are specific and specialized to the organization(s) they serve. There is even a professional organization called the Special Libraries Association (SLA), which allows us to learn new skills and network with peers. In large companies, corporate libraries are not uncommon. Corporate archives, however, may be less common to find. And what's especially unique about our library is that we're, of course, pet-friendly!