29 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 291 2017 Identify your skill bottlenecks. There’s always someone at an institution who knows how to do something important that no one else does. What happens when that person retires or goes on leave unexpectedly? Cross-functional teams disperse important skills within an organization, helping with succession planning and institutional memory. Look for opportunities to get these specialized staff members working on a project or collaborating with others so they can share their skills and knowledge. Perhaps there is a small piece of their job that other members of team could be trained to do. Both staff members benefit from such an arrangement the specialized person now has help when the workload gets heavy and the newly trained person has an additional way to contribute to the team’s success. Upskill existing people before you hire a dedicated position. The American Library Association job list is littered with functional specialist job postings like Digital Preservation Librarian or Scholarly Communications Librarian. Before you post one of these, try asking an existing staff member to “test drive” the role on a full- or part- time basis for a few months. This will give you a better sense of what skills are required for the portfolio and ensure that someone else in the organization is familiar with it, preemptively eliminating a skills bottleneck. This kind of testing can also provide an opportunity to demonstrate how the role brings value to your organization so you can help secure funding for the position, if necessary. Conclusion Our case study demonstrates an intrapreneurial pathway to holistic librarianship. Recently hired librarians saw an opportunity to approach a project in a non-traditional way, growing their skill sets and breaking down organizational silos in the process. Leadership can occur at all levels of an organization, but it takes vision and flexibility at the highest levels to shape its growth in the most useful direction.
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