Attain Partners Welcomes Hilary Craiglow to Lead the Growth of our Library Planning and Strategy Services Practice
Hilary Craiglow joined Attain Partners on July 3, 2023, to lead our team of library strategists as they strengthen library systems using proven evaluation and assessment methods.
With a 30+ year career in libraries, Hilary brings a deep understanding of college and university systems, extensive experience leading academic libraries, and most recently led an Association of Research Libraries (ARL) library at Vanderbilt University. When looking to take on a new challenge in her career, Hilary was heavily recruited by many top universities but ultimately chose to consult with Attain Partners.
We recently sat down with Hilary to learn more about her background and her plans for creating impact as she leads Attain Partners’ Library Planning and Strategy Services group.
Attain Partners (AP): How did you first become passionate about libraries?
Hilary Craiglow (HC): Growing up, I loved school, but I wasn’t always doing what the other kids did as a young student. Everyone may have been working on one thing and I was more interested in a different activity. When this happened, one of my teachers used to send me to the library. I instantly felt at home there—everyone was welcome, and I could move at my own pace.
I learned that the library is a place where curiosity is encouraged, and everyone is welcomed back any time—you can always be yourself and find something of interest to you. From that young age, I knew I wanted to be a librarian and never wavered!
AP: What kind of work were you doing before you came to Attain Partners?
HC: I’m lucky that I’ve been able to work in a variety of different types of libraries. I’ve held positions at a community college library, a public library, corporate libraries, and for the past eighteen years held a variety of roles at Vanderbilt University. I was fortunate enough to be the acting university librarian at Vanderbilt, getting to oversee the entire library system which included comprehensive research and education programs.
AP: What do you see on the horizon regarding the continued impact of technology on libraries?
HC: Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI and Large Language Models (LLMs) will significantly change libraries, potentially in similar positive ways we saw with the introduction of the internet thirty years ago. I don’t think for a second that AI will ever replace the essential functions of libraries or librarians—instead, we can use it to help our libraries function more efficiently, increase discovery of quality information, share more unique and primary sources with the world, and allow library staff and faculty more time to connect with users.
Libraries are needed now more than ever. They not only play a role in but lead the information enterprise, and AI is all about information. AI will impact libraries in almost every way. From streamlining how library back-end data is gathered to how our resource catalogs are searched, and just about everything in between. There are endless possibilities for libraries to use AI to their advantage.
But I want to be clear, librarians aren’t going anywhere—AI cannot replace our valuable relationships with the community. Understanding community needs takes human interaction. Further, as AI becomes more prevalent, new questions will arise for librarians to help answer.
How can we help people use AI effectively to build knowledge while being ethical about how we consume, create, and share information? How can you tell when you’re seeing synthetic material or data created by AI versus non-synthetic material?
I’m excited to support librarians as they play a key role in helping researchers, educators, and students navigate these challenges.
AP: What are some of the hot topics you see for libraries right now?
HC: In my opinion, AI isn’t at the top of the list of issues libraries need to address. I believe one of the hottest topics for libraries right now is assessment—having data-driven narratives for the impact that libraries make in their communities.
Libraries have often struggled to articulate the benefits of their cost and the value they create and are asking, “How do we assess, what do we assess, and how do we report?” People generally have very positive perceptions of libraries, but we need to be able to quantify our impact as well.
Further, libraries within the context of universities need to continually align their operations with the strategic goals of their institution. Attain Partners can assist librarians by providing strategic thinking and operational excellence expertise.
AP: Why did you choose to join Attain Partners and lead our library consulting services?
HC: I have so many reasons why I’m excited about working at Attain Partners, but here are my top seven:
- Attain Partners has a culture of collaboration, stakeholder engagement, and innovation. I believe these values can propel the missions of libraries forward and support the success of library leaders.
- Attain Partners’ consultants recognize libraries as integral and imperative to the success of the academic enterprise.
- Leaders like Attain Partners’ Founder and CEO Greg Baroni are willing to take bold, calculated risks to transform higher education.
- Attain Partners has the only library cost study methodology to increase university F&A rates that is approved by the federal government, demonstrating tangible value libraries provide to research universities.
- The firm has a track record of implementing effective assessment tools that tell the story of universities and colleges, including a DEI efficacy measurement. Our library consultants can help libraries think differently about diversity, equity, and inclusion as policies and communities continue to evolve by leveraging Attain Partners’ Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Allyship (IDEA) Performance Maturity Framework.
- Our consultants have the ability to optimize library organizational performance by leveraging Attain Partners’ deep bench strength of technological solutions, operation modernization, and talent development.
- With the firm’s expertise in strategic planning, change and project management, benchmarking, and gap analysis, Attain Partners works with libraries to align their organizations with their institutions’ goals and objectives.
Attain Partners is Your Team for Excellence and Speed
The entire Attain Partners team is excited to welcome Hilary to our growing team of experts where she’ll help us drive innovation with our library clients. Together, we’re committed to boldly being the best in providing strategic planning and assessment services to libraries of all structures and sizes.
Attain Partners – Library Experts
At Attain Partners, we fuse our deep understanding of library structures and programs with our consultative expertise to strengthen library systems using proven evaluation and assessment methods. We have extensive experience assisting colleges and universities with the optimization of overhead cost recovery related to library expenses that support sponsored grants and contracts. Our consultants collaborate across our strategic planning, grants management, and F&A teams to provide a uniquely thorough approach to library consulting.
Contact us today to set up a meeting to discuss your library’s specific needs!
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