WiLS December 2017 Vendor Partner Interview: Alexandra Pappalimberis, EBSCO Information Services
At WiLS, we want to bring valuable information to our library partners, including information about the missions and big ideas of the vendors they may already do business with. Each month, WiLS interviews a vendor partner in order to bridge the gap and open the door to valuable collaborations. This month, we are delighted to share insights from Alexandra Pappalimberis, Account Executive at EBSCO Information Services.
Tell us about your company’s background.
EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) is the leading provider of resources for libraries, with tools such as our EBSCO databases, EBSCO eBooks™, and EBSCO Discovery Service™. EBSCO is the largest subscription services provider and has been working with libraries for decades.
We provide technology and access to journals, e-journals, e-packages, e-books, readers’ advisory services, archives, and databases along with a robust discovery service, resource management, and collection development tools and usage consolidation options. These resources are designed to help provide libraries with premium content, workflow options, and the metrics they need to make collection decisions. We provide services for the research needs of K-12 Schools, Academic, and Public Libraries as well as Hospitals and Medical Institutions, Corporations, and Government Agencies around the world.
Why do you, personally, choose to work with libraries?
I think everyone remembers their first experience going to their school or public library and meeting the librarian. I am sure everyone also remembers the resources available during college and the research papers that were saved by the librarians’ help. When you leave school and are looking for a job, it is a big step. Finding a company like EBSCO, a company that works with libraries, brought that familiarity and sense that sales could be more of a partnership than a Boiler Room experience. It is easy to provide great resources to great institutions.
What do you like to know about the libraries you work with? What helps you better understand their needs?
Understanding the library mission and which databases or services are the right fit is an important part of the partnership we have. This allows us to bring the proper resources to our customers’ attention. Being able to build a relationship with our customers is an important part of what we do. We want to understand how to improve the library workflow and create products that help librarians do their job efficiently and intuitively. We also want to understand the needs of the end users (students, patrons, researchers, etc.) so we can develop products that showcase the value of the library and give people a reason to come back to their library again and again.
When we have the opportunity to learn from our customers what is most important to them and which of their needs are essential, we can start to map out which databases, e-books, or library services will make a difference.
What big ideas are being worked on at your company? What problems are being solved?
EBSCO is working on delivering products and services that advance the research experience and improve library workflows. We are looking to understand librarians and their needs to further develop our products and better improve the user experience. We also have incorporated user research into the product development process so databases, interfaces, and platforms are being designed with the user in mind. Each EBSCO development team is able to understand issues related to important topics such as accessibility and student research habits before they begin to work on new projects.
Right now EBSCO is involved in an open source project called FOLIO which stands for the Future of Libraries is Open. The FOLIO community is creating a library services platform (LSP). The project pulls together librarians, developers, and vendors from around the world to change how libraries innovate. Companies like EBSCO, in addition to providing sponsorship dollars, developers, and project management to the project, will be able to provide hosting services ensuring that the benefits of open source can be realized in libraries without large technical staffs. There is plenty of room in the project for librarians. More information is available at www.folio.org.
How can librarians become partners in product or training development?
We are always looking for librarians to participate in our research studies. We highlight our studies on Twitter @EBSCO and on our EBSCOpost blog. Librarians can also reach out to us by emailing us at .
Do you have anything else you’d like to share here?
We send a lot of information to our customers and we want to make sure we are reaching the right people. We know staffs and roles change over time so if people need to be added or removed from communications, it would be helpful to know. Using , customers can let us know if their roles have changed or if new staff needs to be added to technical or product-related communications.
I’d also like to reiterate that we understand that people get their information from various outlets so following EBSCO on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are options that librarians should consider. We are easy to find.
This interview is part of a series of interviews with both WiLS library and vendor partners. Your feedback is appreciated. If you have any to offer on this article or suggestions for upcoming interviews, contact Andrea Coffin at .