Working with the Library Community: Thoughts of a Newcomer

Hila Lamm

Hila Lamm, VP Teaching & Learning Solutions, Ex Libris

I’ve made the move. After 12 years in the Enterprise Software Industry, I have joined Ex Libris. I still work for a software vendor, and on the surface, it sounds and looks very familiar, but as I deepen my acquaintance with the library and academic universe, I realize that I am not in Kansas anymore…

So what is this Land of Oz that I’ve just landed in? I’m still figuring it out. But what I can say right now is that it is unique, in the very best way. I have not just joined a company. I didn’t just start working in a new industry. I joined a community. A community of individuals that has come together to serve a higher cause. A community of customers who work and collaborate with vendors to advance their cause. It’s inspiring. If you told me a year ago that I’d use these words in the context of my line of work, I would probably have laughed at the thought.

Now that I understand that there are no two sides, but one community with different roles, it is less of a surprise to realize that Ex Libris and the libraries it serves are facing a similar transformation. The Land of Oz is shifting and changing. You have been here much longer than I, so you know it better. We are moving from P (print), to D (digital) and E (electronic), and then to V (virtual). Obviously, libraries’ presence is no longer just physical. In fact, it is probably more digital, yet students still look for a place to physically study.

The higher cause remains the same. In the words of the Harvard Library mission statement, a library “advances scholarship and teaching by committing itself to the creation, application, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge.” The change, rather, is in the strategy. It is a strategy that reaches beyond the library space, both physical and virtual, as stated in the first initiative of the Georgetown University’s Library Strategic Initiatives: “Engage in the Scholarly Process as a Catalyst for Teaching, Learning, and Research.”

What does this have to do with Ex Libris? Everything. With you, the libraries we serve, we are reaching out to embrace teaching, learning and research processes, giving you a platform to join campus-wide initiatives and making sure that the library is an integral part of the knowledge creation process, wherever it takes place.And me? I am excited about what lies ahead. I am taking my first steps on this yellow brick road, looking forward to getting to know my partners for this journey.

Hila Lamm is VP of Teaching & Learning Solutions at Ex Libris. Prior to joining Ex Libris, Hila served in various product leadership roles at NICE Systems and other software companies.

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