Business and Economics Librarianship: Inside the Conveners Perspectives at METRO

This article was simultaneously published in The B&F Bulletin by SLA: Business and Finance Division.

METRO's First SIG in Business and Economics Librarianship
METRO’s First SIG in Business and Economics Librarianship

On Monday, April 8th, METRO New York Library Council hosted the first meeting of the newly created Special Interest Group (SIG) focusing on Business and Economics Librarianship. The purpose of this SIG is to share, collaborate and explore ideas, best practices, projects and updates relating to business/economics librarianships in public, academic, or corporate/government institutions. Business librarianship is emerging as an important field. Business and economics information is now more readily available beyond the financial markets. As our world becomes more globalized and dynamic in every sector of society, business and economics information and resources are increasingly in demand. Researchers at our institutions are interested in a wide variety of topics including how to start a business in New York, competitive intelligence in the 21st century, how to find recent unemployment statistics, how to prepare for a job interview, how to track stock quotes from a start-up company, or how to find data on markets in London or Shanghai; the list of queries are expansive and ever growing. The conveners of this SIG: Kathleen Dreyer of the Watson Library of Business and Economics at Columba University and Raymond Pun of The New York Public Library thought it was important to start a group where the focus is on the larger themes of business librarianship by integrating academic economics, applied economics, business and legal research and digital technology fields.

Any professional involved in information technology, finance, job resources, knowledge management, government information resources, and economics and beyond will find this SIG to be useful

Any professional involved in information technology, finance, job resources, knowledge management, government information resources, and economics and beyond will find this SIG to be useful in networking and learning the opportunities available for their own respective institution.

In addition, these are other associations that may be worth looking into:

  1. Special Library Association / New York City:
  2. Business Reference and Services Section (under Reference User and Services Association)
  3. METRO- New York Library Council: Economics and Business Librarianship SIGs Libguide:

The first meeting was well received and productive. Ms. Kristin McDonough, the first director of NYPLs Science Industry Business Library (SIBL) spoke about the future of business librarianship; her lecture introduced participants to a series of new collaborative opportunities for business library schools and practitioners to consider. Here are some interesting points:

  • Knowledge Management vs. Knowledge Service: when conducting business reference and research services, our students and patrons expect us to synthesize and analyze the content and data; we are no longer just delivering information but evaluating it critically

We need to be mindful of the new digital and technological changes in the field and learn to adapt and embrace new ways of teaching business research/reference; librarians are the best information resource sharers; focus on that core strength and skill during this critical period by taking risks and trying new things out.

In the future, we hope to update the libguide further (see above), add Twitter hashtag for this SIG event (#metrobiz) and rotate our speakers from different backgrounds in the field of librarianship. Joining a business librarianship listserv such as the Business Librarians Email Discussion Group: is an excellent way to learn about latest business and economic librarianship; research techniques, resources, reference questions, and more.

Kristin McDonough
Ms. Kristin McDonough speaking about her research

Our next meeting in June (TBD) will feature Ms. Lucy Heckman, University Librarian and Business Bibliographer of St. John’s University to discuss how to utilize business resources for non-business research and non-business resources for business research.

In the fall, we anticipate corporate or special librarian to be the speaker for the event.; we also plan to visit other academic/public libraries/institutions and museums such as the Museum of American Finance as part of our professional development as professionals in this SIG. Stay Tuned!

Raymond Pun, Reference Librarian
The New York Public Library

Kathleen M. Dreyer, Head of Thomas J. Watson Library
Columbia University

This article was originally published in ACRL/NY Connections Vol.31, No.1, Spring 2013.