This is an interview with Adaliz N. Cruz, Information Services Assistant at Bain & Company, done by Naomi House of INALJ. This is part of INALJ’s 2020 series on non-library jobs for library workers.
On Information Services Work :
an Interview with Adaliz N. Cruz
Q1: Thanks so much for taking the time to help us better understand what Information Services work is and how LIS folk can get into this field. First could you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you got your MLIS (or your educational background) and what you do?
My name is Adaliz and I work at Bain & Company in Boston. I got a BM in Applied Music from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico. I then relocated to Boston in order to get my MLIS from Simmons University in the hopes of becoming a music librarian.
I am now working at Bain & Company, specifically I am the Assistant to the Information Services team at the Boston, New York, and Toronto offices. As the IS Assistant, I support the IS team who in turn support their assigned case teams. I work on collection maintenance for our print and digital collections. I work as the main point of contact for different subscriptions. I conduct basic business research, as well as other assigned duties.
Q2: Now can you tell us how You personally got into doing this type of work?
When I started my MLIS program, I asked if there was a music librarianship interest group. I’ve always been involved in student organizations and student leadership and I wanted to align myself with other students with the same professional goals. Unfortunately, there was not a music librarianship group at Simmons, but I was told that there was the Special Libraries Association student chapter which was “close enough”. I joined SLA@Simmons, later became the treasurer and ultimately the president. Our student organization is strongly supported by SLA New England and many information services in the Boston area actively look for Simmons students/alums. I also took the Special Librarianship course which gave me some insight into the world of corporate libraries. This is how I got my job at Bain & Company, the position was announced through our SLA@Simmons listserv as well as the Simmons Jobline.
Q3: What makes this a great field for LIS workers and likewise, what do you think makes LIS workers strong candidates for hiring managers in this field?
LIS workers are excellent researchers. We are taught the best strategies to organize and store information which makes us extremely qualified to work on the retrieval of information.
I like to think of corporate librarianship as a parallel field to “traditional” librarianship. LIS workers in corporate libraries work on collection development and maintenance, they conduct reference interviews, they work on research, and are using all the skills learned in library school. The difference between “traditional” libraries and corporate libraries are the patrons and their focus. While academic librarians work closely with students and faculty, LIS workers in information services work with their patrons internally towards the industry specific mission of their organization.
Q4: What is the best way to get your foot in the door or your first information services job?
I was taught all throughout library school about the power of your network. A huge component of my special librarianship course was hearing from working professionals from around the area, they had also attended Simmons University. All of our guest speakers spoke about networking , informational interviews, and “getting your name out there”.
They also spoke about “knowing where to look”. Many information services jobs will not be advertised as librarian or archivist positions. Knowing which keywords to look out for greatly helps finding an information services job. Many positions will require or highly prefer an MLIS, but will be advertised as “researcher”, “taxonomist”, “information services”, etc.
Q5: Finally what are some of the most important skills / certifications / etc that LIS folk can do to prepare them? Any last tips?
Many of the people on my team, myself included, have no background in business at all. However, most of us have MLISs and learned the lingo and the industry along the way. A coworker once gave me this advice: “You don’t have to know exactly what these terms mean, you just have to know to match what the requester wants with the information in front of you. You will learn the terms along the way”. This has proven very much true.
Taking a special librarianship course and getting involved with professional organizations are a good thing.These definitely helped me; I didn’t know a thing about consulting when I applied. I called a friend who studied economics and asked her to explain the industry to me. However, because I had taken the course and was so active on SLA@Simmons, I had a basic knowledge of different databases and search strategies and was able to adapt to the work culture more easily. However, these are not required.
Adaliz N. Cruz (she|her) received her Masters in Library and Information Science from Simmons University in Boston in May 2020. A Mayagüez, Puerto Rico native, she moved to Boston after receiving her BM Applied Music in 2018 from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico. Throughout her time at Simmons, she was awarded grants to attend NEMLA’s 2018 joint meeting with NYS/O and the Quebec chapter of CAML, ASDAL’s 2019 Conference, and the Kevin Freeman Travel Grant for the 2020 MLA meeting. She has also presented her papers Re: Succession and Music: the weapon of choice at several conferences. She is a guest blogger for the Students Snippets Blog at Simmons and has published blogs on networking, conference attendance, mentorship, and virtual interviewing. Her research paper Urban Genres in Puerto Rico has been accepted for publication in “Acceso Revista Puertorriqueña de Bibliotecología y Documentación”.
Adaliz was the 2019 – 2020 president of the Student Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. She is the Assistant to the Boston, New York, and Toronto Information Services team at Bain & Company.
Views expressed are those of the interviewee and not INALJ or their employer. Photo provided by the interviewee and permission granted to use it for this interview.