My transition from Librarian to Vendor

My transition from Librarian to Vendor

I have recently joined the TLC Library Sales Consultant team, and I thought it might be worthwhile to share my journey from Librarian to Vendor. Many before me have made this transition—and others will after me—but these insights may be of value to some.

I worked in public libraries from 2008 – 2019, including seven and a half years as the Assistant Director of Technical Services with the Southern Pines Public Library (SPPL) in North Carolina. SPPL uses TLC’s LibrarySolution, and it was during my time there that I became extremely familiar with TLC.

SPPL is one of the public libraries that remain with TLC as an ILS (Integrated Library Software) vendor since going from card catalog to digital.  One of my roles with SPPL was being the ILS administrator. I managed SPPL’s system and was the liaison with TLC whenever we needed to contact them.  I created tickets, worked with support and product owners/managers, attended TLCU, and was on the TLCU conference steering committee for some time.

Once I moved back to California, I had the opportunity to work with other public libraries that use different ILS vendors. I worked with Rancho Mirage Public Library for a year and three months, which uses Autographics. I also worked with the Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) Library aboard the Marine Corps Air and Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, CA for a year and 4 months, where they use Sirsi Symphony Workflows.

Once I learned how to use each ILS, I tried to persuade each of those libraries into using TLC software because I think that LibrarySolution has better features than either of the others. I found that neither Autographics nor Sirsi Symphony Workflows had the robust reporting features that TLC possesses. The support with both is also not on par with TLC. All in all, I feel that TLC is a stronger product and helps librarians and libraries do a better job managing their patron and content databases.

Back when I was working at SPPL and attending the TLCU conferences, I always thought it would be cool to work at TLC, but as I didn’t want to move to West Virginia—I dismissed the notion and continued doing my work as a librarian. Recently, I decided to investigate different job opportunities that would enable me to move closer to my family in San Diego. I reached out to Rich Jacobson, my former sales representative with TLC, to see if there was a possibility to work for TLC remotely. Rich put me in contact with John Burns, the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at TLC, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I have worked as an employee with TLC for two months. My library sales consultant territory is the western part of the US to include the following states:  AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, and WY. I recently had the opportunity to attend the Utah Library Association (ULA) conference as a vendor. This was a different experience as I was on the other side of the library ship. I spoke with many librarians and library support staff. All were nice and curious about what TLC did.

In my short time with TLC, I have learned so much. I am learning how the inner workings of a longtime library software like TLC function. It’s fascinating. What is great is that many of the people who were working for TLC when I was their customer still work with the company. I have reconnected with many familiar faces and voices.  If you have called support as much as I did when I worked with SPPL, many times you know the staff names and their voices but not necessarily their faces.  When I traveled to Inwood for training in early May, I was able to connect the faces with the names and voices.

For me, transitioning from a TLC customer and librarian to a TLC Library Sales Consultant has been a natural switch. I have always had a focus on technology in each of the library jobs I have held. I love libraries, but wanted to branch out and try something new that would enable me to travel, see libraries I would never be able to see, and try to share my enthusiasm about TLC products with other librarians. As with any librarian, I love to learn, so learning more about TLC and how the vendor side works is also rewarding. I am learning about sales techniques and methods of reaching out to potential clients. It is a bit daunting, but I am enjoying the process.

If you have any questions for me please contact me at kloftis@tlcdelivers.com.

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Justin Larsen



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