The International Special Librarian’s Day is an event which honors the special librarian’s, or information professionals, as they are known today, for their contributions and their role in the evolving global information community. The event has been established by the SLA, or the Special Libraries Association and is traditionally celebrated on the Thursday of the National Library Week which takes place on the second full week of April.
Special librarians work in special libraries which are neither academic, nor school, or public libraries. Special libraries aren’t open to the public and the information they collect is usually geared toward the specific needs of their clientele and/or supports the mission of their sponsoring organization. Special libraries are also referred to as information centers and are staffed by librarians. Some examples of special libraries include government libraries, corporate libraries, law libraries, museum libraries, and medical libraries.
Special librarians are information resource professionals who dedicate their expertise towards attaining the goals of their organizations. They are often hired by corporations, private businesses, government agencies, hospitals, colleges, museums, associations, as well as information management consulting firms. What differentiates the special librarians from the usual librarians is that go beyond gathering information; they evaluate, analyze, organize, package and present the information in a way that maximizes its usefulness. Some of the services that special librarians perform include: preparing research reports on specific information requested by the staff, identifying research that have been done at other organizations to avoid repetitive research, validating information for external and internal reports and publications, creating databases of internal information for the organization to access, searching patents and trademarks, evaluating and comparing information software and sources of information before it is bought, and training other staff to effectively use online databases.
Studies have shown that the value of information received from special libraries has greatly helped and influenced the decision-making process of several large corporations; helping them avoid poor business decisions and helping them decide on a better course of action. Special libraries have also been shown to save time and money by reducing the time that employees have to spend on research to get the needed information, which allows them more time to devote to their primary duties.
In Georgetown University, in Washington DC, International Special Librarians Day has been celebrated with a panel discussion facilitated by distinguished speakers who will discuss the various aspects of international librarianship.