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Member Profile: In Her Own Words – Rebecca Gebhardt

Rebecca Gebhardt is 2015 SLA Georgia Treasurer. She is a director at Linex Systems and blogs regularly at http://www.linexsystems.com/blog.

1. How long have you been a librarian at your current employer?

I have been working with librarians for about 10 years, since I joined Linex.

2. What is your title and what are you main job responsibilities?

My first role with Linex was as Head of Customer Support, and said customers we private and academic librarians. These relationships are ongoing: Linex is a software solution so my work with clients is continuous as they implement, roll out and then further adapt or grow the use of their platform. This also places me as a natural liaison between clients and our internal product development, as my use of our product is what ever our clients are doing or want to be able to do.

I now also work in sales for Linex. All of this requires an understanding of my clients not just in their use of Linex, but in their day to day work: what are their desired outcomes, what are the obstacles they encounter, how are they measured within their organizations, how do they prefer to work, etc.

3. What other libraries have you worked in and what were some of your major achievements there?

Most of the Linex clients are law librarians, as well as some corporate and also academic. I started in the UK, and now mainly work with US and Australian libraries.

4. Why did you become a librarian?

I trained in Classics and Art Connoisseurship, and had started a career in the art world. The opportunity to work at Linex arose in this period, while I was looking for my next challenge in any case. While a complete departure from my field of work thus far, I was energised by the product and the team and decided to take a leap of faith into this library software world. And have never looked back.

5. What are the challenges you see facing information professionals and special libraries today?

As my work is steeped in my clients’ needs, I quickly found myself inhabiting the librarian world: I joined librarian associations, I read library and KM blogs, and I myself blog about library and KM practices. From where I sit, an ongoing challenge is that of placing the library function within an organization. More and more, library and information personnel are joining strategic teams and in some cases the management round tables and C-suite. But it is a developing process and it can still be difficult to show the role the library plays in the terms each other department best understands: numbers for finance, reach for BizDev, strategy for executives, etc.

6. What ideas do you have for overcoming these challenges?

Librarians are getting creative about how they brand and position themselves. I see them using content and information dissemination to help drive strategic goals. Leaning in to the conversations about organization missions and objectives allows them to target their work to those same outcomes. Branding their output in various ways is also on the rise, as the library makes their role more and more apparent to all stakeholders.

7. What advice would you give new entrants to our profession?

Make our voice heard and know how your role and department fit in to the larger goals of your company or organization. If nobody tells you what this is, then ask!

8. When you’re not at work, what are you interests and hobbies?

Arts and the outdoors, Atlanta’s great climate means I can spend most of the year hiking, walking or playing tennis in the open, as well as enjoying the many parks and outdoor festivals. The great arts selection, from the Opera House and Woodruff center to all the independent theaters and galleries keep my hours occupied. Beyond this, eating my husband’s wonderful Italian cooking and reading as many books as I can get my hands on.

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