Episode 14: Special Libraries

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Guest Hosts: Jessie Storlien, Stearns History Center; and Susan Schlepers, St. Cloud Hospital Library

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Topic of the Week: Special Libraries

“A special library is a library that provides specialized information resources on a particular subject, serves a specialized and limited clientele, and delivers specialized services to that clientele.[1] Special libraries include corporate libraries, government libraries, law libraries, medical libraries, museum libraries, news libraries, and nonprofit libraries. Special libraries also exist within academic institutions, including law school libraries and medical school libraries. These libraries are included as special libraries because they are often funded separately from the rest of the university and they serve a targeted group of users.[2]” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_library

Types of special libraries

  • Corporate
  • Law
  • Medical
  • Military
  • Music
  • Transportation
  • Museum
  • Correctional institute
  • News
  • Performing arts
  • Theological
  • Federal
    • Engineering and science
    • Military base/post
    • Health and medicine
    • law
    • archives, museums, presidential libraries
    • prison
    • national parks
    • general agency
    • academic
    • training centers and technical schools
    • program/regional office



Guest Hosts Present

Jessie Storlien, from the Stearns History Museum Check out their Century Farms project!
Susan Schleper, from the Health Science Library at the St Cloud Hospital.  Read about our visit from CMLE HQ to her library!



Books we are reading


Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen “During an eventful season at Bath, young, naïve Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine’s love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father’s mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, this is the most youthful and and optimistic of Jane Austen’s works.”



Little Women, by Louise May Alcott “Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books rapidly over several months at the request of her publisher. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success, and readers demanded to know more about the characters. Alcott quickly completed a second volume, entitled Good Wives. It was also successful. The two volumes were issued in 1880 in a single work entitled Little Women. Alcott also wrote two sequels to her popular work, both of which also featured the March sisters: Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886). Although Little Women was a novel for girls, it differed notably from the current writings for children, especially girls. The novel addressed three major themes: “domesticity, work, and true love, all of them interdependent and each necessary to the achievement of its heroine’s individual identity.” Little Women “has been read as a romance or as a quest, or both. It has been read as a family drama that validates virtue over wealth”, but also “as a means of escaping that life by women who knew its gender constraints only too well”. According to Sarah Elbert, Alcott created a new form of literature, one that took elements from Romantic children’s fiction and combined it with others from sentimental novels, resulting in a totally new format. Elbert argued that within Little Women can be found the first vision of the “All-American girl” and that her multiple aspects are embodied in the differing March sisters.”


Notorius RBG, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhni “Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame—she has only tried to make the world a little better and a little freer.

But nearly a half-century into her career, something funny happened to the octogenarian: she won the internet. Across America, people who weren’t even born when Ginsburg first made her name as a feminist pioneer are tattooing themselves with her face, setting her famously searing dissents to music, and making viral videos in tribute.

Notorious RBG, inspired by the Tumblr that amused the Justice herself and brought to you by its founder and an award-winning feminist journalist, is more than just a love letter. It draws on intimate access to Ginsburg’s family members, close friends, colleagues, and clerks, as well an interview with the Justice herself. An original hybrid of reported narrative, annotated dissents, rare archival photos and documents, and illustrations, the book tells a never-before-told story of an unusual and transformative woman who transcends generational divides. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far we can come with a little chutzpah.



Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham ” Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is no simple missing person’s case; the house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

In Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas has created a groundbreaking female detective who’s part Phillip Marlowe, part Nancy Drew, and all snark. With its sharp plot and clever twists, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line will keep you guessing until the very last page.”


Spotlight Library Association:  

Special Libraries Association https://www.sla.org/

The Special Libraries Association (SLA) is a nonprofit global organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners in business, government, academic, and other “specialized” settings. If you manage information and/or knowledge resources for organizations and their stakeholders—such as business executives, government agency staff, university faculty and students, association members, nonprofit funders, and law firm partners—SLA is your professional home!

SLA promotes and strengthens its members through learning, networking, and community building initiatives. Information about the benefits of SLA membership, i



Competencies for Information Professionals

More and more work is knowledge work, and many professionals of all types have responsibility for elements of knowledge and information management. One category of professionals makes data, information, and knowledge its primary focus. These professionals come from various educational backgrounds, including library science, information science, and other disciplines. They work in many different types of organizations and settings and have a variety of job titles and professional labels. For purposes of simplicity and consistency, the term “information professional” will be used in this document to describe them.


1: Information and Knowledge Services

2: Information and Knowledge Systems and Technology

3: Information and Knowledge Resources

4: Information and Data Retrieval and Analysis

5: Organization of Data, Information, and Knowledge Assets

6: Information Ethics



In addition to these unique core competencies, information professionals also possess other essential competencies that are shared by professionals in other fields. These “enabling” competencies are vital for professional success and career development. It would be possible to produce a very long list of such competencies, but the following is a short list of those that merit the greatest attention:

  • Critical thinking, including qualitative and quantitative reasoning;
  • Initiative, adaptability, flexibility, creativity, innovation, and problem solving;
  • Effective oral and written communication, including influencing skills;
  • Relationship building, networking, and collaboration, including the ability to foster respect, inclusion, and communication among diverse individuals;
  • Marketing;
  • Leadership, management, and project management;
  • Life-long learning;
  • Instructional design and development, teaching, and mentoring; and
  • Business ethics.



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Tune in next week as we talk about Information Literacy! And that will be the last episode of Season One of our podcast. Our LOL Awards Show will be aired June 29; if you have not voted on our website yet for your favorites – head over to cmle.org to get in on the action!


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