Friday, March 11, 2005

The library as a centre for a country's Human Resource Development Movement

Just came back from the Singapore HRM Awards 2005 ceremony at Fullerton Hotel. The event organised by HRM (Human Resource Magazine) dished out awards to public and private sector organisations for "Best Workplace Health Practices", "Best Use of Technology", "Best Employer Branding", Best Training, Learning & Development", "Best Retention Strategies", "Best Worklife Balance Practices", "Best HR team", "Best HR Director", and "Employer of Choice". The National Library Board was one of the nominees for "Best Workplace Health Practices". If I recall correctly, NLB won the same award in 2003 and 2004. Didn't win this year.

A few of the winners espoused a few consistent themes in their acceptance speech. They viewed HR as a "calling" and a driving force in the organisation's success (i.e. people were the ones who achieved results for the company, and HR is responsible for developing people). The recipient of the "Lifetime Achievement" award mentioned that HR was more than just a driving force in a company setting -- it was also a force for driving social change in a country (he's consulted for countries in HR issues).

That got me thinking about libraries and the Human Resource Movement/ function: In many ways, libraries are centres for Human Resource Development, aren't they?

I mean the library in both the physical sense (i.e. provision of print and digital resources, programmes and services) and also as a driver for "human development initiatives" like Information Literacy Programmes. A real-life example from NLB called "Aspiration Pathfinder" (run by some really cool folks who, in my opinion, epitomises the 'modern librarian').

Perhaps in the marketing and branding of libraries, we should seriously consider positioning ourselves as Human Development Agencies. Heck, even Human Development Consultants.

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