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Update on Sandia National Labs Library

The following is an update on the Sandia National Labs library, taken from a recent conversation between Emily Sheketoff and Tara Olivero, of the ALA Washington Office, and Dr. David Williams, Director, Information Solutions and Services, Sandia National Laboratories.

  • Overall, it appears that the Lab’s library is undergoing a transformation in the right direction. Apparently, the library had not been properly cared for or funded in a while. Dr. Williams, a long-time Sandia employee and user of the library, wanted to reinvigorate the library as well as other areas of information management.
  • There are three main areas being improved, including the library services, the records management program, and technology.
  • Dr. Williams recognizes that Sandia needs world-class library services in order to effectively meet their mission and serve the public. He went to leadership and asked for a significant increase in funds to fix and enhance library services to create what he calls a “Library of the Future.”
  • Much of the transformation plan is built on what the consultants (Outsell, who did a study of the lab) found.
  • Dr. Williams’ intent all along has been to provide a continuity of library services. Unfortunately, the book collection was viewed as dated and of limited value at a leading research institution. Much of that decision was based on user stats and metrics that did not accurately reflect how the materials were being used. Steps have now been taken to ensure that there is continued access to the collection. The book collection is open, staff can check out books, and interlibrary loan is available. The lab will not actively purchase hard copies of books, unless requested by staff. The majority of new resources will be in electronic format if possible.
  • Sandia has created two bodies to direct this “Library of the Future,” including one comprised of executive staff and another of users.
  • Dr. Williams will soon be adding three professional librarians to the staff. He currently has one managing librarian, one reference librarian, and a credentialed records manager. There are seven professional, degreed librarians currently working in library services. This is in addition to the professional librarians deployed elsewhere throughout the Lab.
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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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