Anyone who’s ever been shushed by a librarian might think they’re not, as a group, all that much fun. After my experience at the Annual Conference & Exhibition of the American Library Association (ALA) last month, however, I have to hand it to them: They do know how to have a good time.
Featured speakers included actor Nick Offerman, noted for playing Ron Swanson on NBC’s sitcom Parks and Recreation; New York Times bestselling author Sarah Vowell; and Gloria Steinem, activist and writer who got a laugh when she described Christopher Columbus as “a terrible guy who was an awful navigator, who thought he was in India until his dying day.”
The conference, held in San Francisco, brought together nearly 16,000 attendees who discussed topics such as community engagement, the impact of technology on libraries and shared best practices.
I attended this event as I work with our longtime partner Mergent, who through a strategic partnership, represents Dun & Bradstreet in the North American public and academic library market directly serving approximately 4,000 library customers purchasing online and print solutions.
The big buzz from Mergent was around their Intellect product, which integrates Dun & Bradstreet data to provide users with a comprehensive global database and coverage of over 240 million global companies – double the coverage of the next closest competitor in North America alone.
Library users can use Intellect to research companies as part of a job search, to grow their business or for academic purposes. The tool makes it easy for job seekers to identify the top ten industries that need their skill set, identify employers in those industries and find jobs with those employers. Intellect offers demographic and census data, as well as Global Corporate Family Tree information that shows business relationships between parent and subsidiary companies. For librarians, the most important thing, as with all new technology, is that it’s easy to use – so users can get the benefit of the information, and librarians don’t have to answer questions about how it works.
Image credit: Mergent