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csalanova.JPGGuest Blogger CaseyAnn Salanova currently heads the Interlibrary Loan department and serves as the Core Team Leader at Schmidt Library at York College of Pennsylvania.

Surprise, surprise, knowledge management impacts employees! What a novel idea, right?

Not really when you think about it because where does knowledge lie? Within people. And employees—at least for now—are people. And the knowledge we have (as employees and through our collective experiences) can contribute to a rich learning environment, adaptability, and overall satisfaction within the workplace.If an organization or company has a successful knowledge management structure, it can facilitate learning through externalization, internalization, and socialization. Consider this: I was sitting in my office the other day chatting with my officemate. We work at a library and were talking about a specific functionality within the system we work with. We ended up exchanging different stories about how training was handled previously at the library and how it is handled now.  Really, we were both externalizing our tacit knowledge on the subject and in turn, internalizing the knowledge we heard from each other—all through an informal social exchange.

What if you received a memo from your administration informing you that your department would now be merged with another department? The heads of both departments will be replaced with a CIO and you are to be housed in one building. How would you react? It would be unsurprising if your response was not well​. 

And that is why trust is such an important component in knowledge management and employee adaptability (Association of Project Management, 2014). An organization’s KM processes can facilitate the sharing of knowledge between employees because they themselves “likely possess the information and knowledge needed to adapt” (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2015). Having the ability to participate in conversations and contribute ideas and opinions help create an environment in which employees are more open to be aware of and accept change (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2015). But, if the organizational culture is not conducive to constructive exchanges and the structure of the company creates independent silos, change is hard. Integration is difficult. And communication suffers. It jeopardizes the chance for change to be successful. But, if change is approached first as a conversation with the opportunity to contribute ideas garner feedback, then outlined, initiated, implemented, and accessed, it can be successful—and if not, you can learn from the process.

Through the simple implementation and support that allow for opportunities for employees to learn and share knowledge, combined with the creation of an environment of trust and collaboration, directly affects employee job satisfaction—for the better (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2015).  Add in the fact, that now, as millennials are taking over entering the workforce, their (our) satisfaction comes from meaningful relationships, learning opportunities, and believing in a cause and a meaningful impact on the world (Lewis, 2015). In the end, by adopting knowledge management solutions, organizations will be helping themselves and their employees. Job satisfaction goes a long way and contributes to the willingness to share knowledge, expertise, and remain in the organization longer (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2015). And really, in the end, wouldn’t you as an employer, want your employees to be happy?

Guest Blogger CaseyAnn Salanova is a graduate student at Kent State University studying Knowledge Management and Library and Information Science. She currently heads the Interlibrary Loan department and serves as the Core Team Leader at Schmidt Library at York College of Pennsylvania.

Works Referenced

Association of Project Management. (2014, April 10). We really need to talk about knowledge management [Video File]. Retrieved from

Becerra-Fernandez, I., & Sabherwal, R. (2015). Knowledge Management Systems and Processes. New York, NY. RoutledgeTaylor& Francis Group. 

Lewis, Katherine R. (2015). Everything You Need to Know About Your Millennium Co-Workers.Fortune. Retrieved from

Silo Image. (n.d.) Retrieved from

CaseyAnn Salanova is a graduate student at Kent State University studying Knowledge Management and Library and Information Science. She currently heads the Interlibrary Loan department and serves as the Core Team Leader at Schmidt Library at York College of Pennsylvania.

Libraries, unfortunately, are all too often viewed as antiquated as your grandmother’s chintz curtains.

The public perception of the total value of a library is often veiled by their large budgets and seemingly little return. The reality is though, libraries have dealt with cuts for years now with budgets decreasing even as prices on databases, materials, and technology increase. Even within the library world, a common topic of conversation and conference theme is its own relevancy. Many graduate Library Science programs, like Kent State, ask applicants to write an essay on the relevancy of libraries. Such a requirement is already setting up a professional perception of its own irrelevancy.

Toronto Public Library.JPG(Martin Prosperity Institute, Page 1, 2013)

But, libraries are in fact useful and economically advantageous. The Free Library of Philadelphia pinpointed four major economic areas that libraries contribute to: literacy, workforce development, business development, and increased home and neighborhood values (Fels Research & Consulting, Diamond, Gillen, Litman, & Thornburgh, 2010). The Toronto Public Library estimates it has created over $1 billion in total economic impact (Martin Prosperity Institute, 2013). The bottom line is they provide a low cost education and cultural platform for society (Z. Zhou, personal communication, November 10, 2015).

What is true though, libraries are at a crossroads and in need of a revolution—“one that remakes the institution’s technology, goals and training (Lozada, 2015).” Knowledge management can be a part of it, if not a catalyst. It is an approach to the management and effective use of intellectual capital.  ​

The key to knowledge management is approaching it with the creativity of design and the pragmatics of a business. There is not a one size fits all approach nor is there only one approach that leads to successful knowledge management (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2015). Really, it is holistic. But, not in the granola eating, tree hugging, meditating mentality (even though that is perfectly fine, too). Rather, knowledge management is an interconnected process that requires internal and external analysis, participation organization wide, a willingness to adapt, and a commitment to sustainability. So, why do it in a library?

Libraries are at a moment in time that is ripe for opportunity. They provide an ideal stomping ground for knowledge management through a collection of people from varied backgrounds which differs from the typical KM business case. Their commodity is that of knowledge and it is ever increasing in breadth, format, and structure. They already have a strong technical infrastructure, workflows system, and a long tradition of documentation and onsite training. And just as IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad changed his business practices to the Ikea we know and love today (Liedtka, 2011), libraries have been adapting for years from papyrus to calfskins, printed books, microforms, and electronic resources. It is just now, some consider Google as “America’s reference librarian and Starbucks its ISP (Internet Service Provider)” (Lozada, 2015). Technology is changing at a rapid pace and libraries need to adapt quicker.

Knowledge management can help change the internal and external perception of a library as well as provide the necessary knowledge to compete and thrive. Through the process of developing a strong KM Solution, hard questions will be asked including the contingency factors that affect the overall process (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2015). But, ultimately a better understanding of the context, innovation and knowledge sharing, succession management, employee orientation, learning, and development, and the identification, documentation and dissemination of processes, practices, and expertise of the organization will arise which will lead to the development of a successful knowledge management plan (NCHRP, 2014).  But, what many libraries are lacking in is the motivator.

It does not matter where within the library an individual stands—anyone can become the motivator. Knowledge management can begin as an organically grown movement, but key individuals need to get on board—within a library it is typically the director and upper level administrators. Without the support of the organization’s leader, it is unlikely KM will succeed (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2015). A common occurrence though within the knowledge management sector is for a CLO (Chief Learning Officer), CIO (Chief Information Officer), or CKO (Chief Knowledge Officer) to be hired on a temporary basis and then it is assumed knowledge management will be integrated into company/organization practice (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal 2015).

Let us not assume, but sustain. Knowledge management processes can be customized and adapted to current and future needs. They can be designed to meet budgetary needs with many knowledge management solutions functioning at virtually no or low cost.   So, be the motivator and embrace knowledge management in the library. It can help propel the library into the future while still sustaining the knowledge cultivated from tradition.

Works Referenced
Becerra-Fernandez, I., and Sabherwal, R. (2015). Knowledge Management Systems and Processes. New York, NY. RoutledgeTaylor & Francis Group.
Fels Research & Consulting, Diamond, D., Gillen, K.C., Litman, M., Thornburgh, D. (2010). The Economic Value of The Free Library In Philadelphia. Retrieved from
Liedtka, J. (2011). Why Design? In Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers (3-20). New York: Columbia University Press.
Lozada, C. (2015). Do we still need Libraries? Washington Post. Retrieved from
Martin Prosperity Institute. (2013). So Much More: The Economic Impact of the Toronto Public Library on the City of Toronto. Retrieved from
NCHRP. (2014) Scan 12-04 Advances in Transportation Agency Knowledge Management. Retrieved from

Guest Blogger Charles J Korecki

Charles likes to describe himself as an eclectic "dabbler". He lives, works, and plays in NE Ohio. He is grateful to his wife and daughter for their unwavering support.

by Charles J Korecki

    By a show of virtual hands, who has heard the ubiquitous philosophical question: if a tree falls in a forest—and no one is around to hear it—does it make a sound? This question seems to bob perennially in the flotsam and jetsam of our cultural milieu. Though the question may seem equally silly, do you know what 2.5kHz sounds like? More importantly, can you recognize it when it's ringing out of your monitors and the overpaid talent on stage is throwing daggers at you like you've just run over her Shar Pei with a Segway? If you think I am exaggerating, be sure to check out the footage from a recent Donald Trump rally in Pensacola (Real Clear Politics, 2016). How would you like to be that sound engineer? If you know what 2.5kHz sounds like, how did you learn? If you know why The Donald's mic was popping, where did you find that knowledge? Was it in a book? (Probably not.) Knowing the sound of a particular frequency, knowing that Elation's Platinum Spot 5R's go "silly" if they sit without DMX for too long, or even knowing the proper way to pack gear in a truck all get the heart of what's called tacit knowledge. For those of us in the trenches of the Live Event Industry, tacit knowledge is that "experience" that separates the seasoned veterans from the new box pushers.


I had the good fortune recently to view a short YouTube video by the Association for Project Management (2015). The video does a respectable job of explaining the difference between explicit knowledge (knowledge which is documented, such as that written in books) and tacit knowledge (knowledge that is inside us and exists through us). Explicit knowledge is the knowledge contained in the various manuals, articles, and journals that litter our shop's break room. Tacit knowledge is the "stuff" that saves our jobs and reputations during gigs. It's the knowledge you wish you had the first time you solo on a gig. So, if tacit knowledge is so vital, how do we acquire it?

The whole goal of knowledge management (KM) is to enable us to not only capture this tacit knowledge but to package it in such a way that the knowledge is accessible "wherever and whenever it is needed" (Becerra-Fernandez and Sabherwal, 2015). The video I mentioned by APM (Association for Project Management, 2015) argues that you cannot really capture knowledge. The video incorporates a great visual of trying to force "knowledge" into a cage. If you have a good memory, you might remember the point in last week's blog when I asked the difference between KM and Information Management. Well, that question comes into play here. You can capture information. You can record it, write it on a page, type it into a wiki, etc. However, that information becomes knowledge when other users are able to find that information and apply it to the current situation—especially if that knowledge leads to a new discovery or solution.

How do we acquire tacit knowledge?

The answer is more obvious than it may seem. In the Live Event industry, we acquire knowledge the old fashioned way—by doing it. Our industry is project ​based. Our tools do not vary all that much: lighting equipment, sound equipment, video equipment, etc. Yet the solutions we create often are unique to the project or event at hand. The APM video (2015) covers various methods of knowledge transfer from apprenticeships, to hierarchies, to networks. The live event industry uses a hybrid of each of these methods to bring a project from inception to fruition. Producers, designers, project managers, technicians, and the client all have roles to play. If we are open to the possibility, we can learn a great deal from working with our team members. Unfortunately, we still have some work to do until we achieve what the APM folks called the "holy grail"—a knowledge sharing culture (2015). As you can see from this picture (at left) of a recent truck pack, someone failed to put their knowledge to good use.

My takeaway for this week is a challenge to you. As I develop these blog posts you will discover that one of the keys to successful knowledge management is YOU! Each of us must work to create a culture where we are celebrated for sharing our knowledge with each other. This lesson dovetails nicely with what Irma Becerra-Fernandez and Rajiv Sabherwal (2015) refer to as experience management. "Because KM systems provide access to explicit company knowledge, it is easy to learn from previous experience" (Becerra-Fernandez and Sabherwal, 2015). I know it's fun to give the newbies a hard time, but just because you made a mistake doesn't mean you have to let them make the same mistakes.

It all comes down to this

Our knowledge—our experience—sets us apart from other production companies. Our knowledge is an asset to this organization, but only if we can capitalize on that knowledge by sharing it with our coworkers. I challenge you to be more open with the tacit knowledge that exists within each of you. Each of you is a warehouse of knowledge—of experience—that benefits no one if you keep it bottled up.


Association of Project Managers. (2014, April 10). We really need to talk about knowledge management [Video file]. Retrieved from

Becerra-Fernandez, I., & Sabherwal, R. (2015). Knowledge management: systems and processes (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Korecki, C. J. (Photographer). (2015). Bad truck pack [photograph]. Unpublished.

Real Clear Politics. (2016, January 14). Donald Trump complains about mic at Pensacola Rally: "Don't pay the SOB that put it in" [Video File]. Retrieved from

Guest Blogger Charles J Korecki

Charles likes to describe himself as an eclectic "dabbler". He lives, works, and plays in NE Ohio. He is grateful to his wife and daughter for their unwavering support.

ckorecki AT 330-328-0615


By Guest Blogger: Lindsey Millan is an employee and graduate student at Kent State University. In her free time, she enjoys reading, roller skating, and spending time with her daughter. She is incredibly grateful for her husband Nate, who is supportive all of her endeavors.


Over the past 10 years or so, higher education systems have seen a demand for more online courses and programs of study. This demand has forced institutions to think about course development and the overall learning community in a different way. We often refer to the "traditional" student in higher education: the recent high school graduate who lives on campus and is working on their degree full-time.  However, student demographics are changing, and the "traditional" student is becoming less of a reality at many institutions. A growing number of students fall into the "non-traditional" category: working professionals who have more pressing demands outside of the classroom. These students need more flexible course schedules and different types of learning tools in order to succeed in their academic pursuits.

So, how does knowledge management fit into these scenarios?  Well, how can we provide students with the tools they need to be successful?  What can we do to meet students where they are and on their timeframe? How can we help non-traditional and online students connect with their peers and other resources?

Utilizing an online community of practice (CoP) can help us solve some of the issues presented by the shift to more non-traditional learning methods. Communities of practice can help us move from the teacher to student learning model to learning as more a social and collaborative experience (Smith, 2003, 2009).   So far in this blog, we have thought about communities of practice in the context of the workplace or a professional group.  Creating communities of practice in both traditional and non-traditional settings could help students make connections in their fields of study that could eventually translate to personal or professional connections.

A community of practice is a group of people that come together over a common interest or subject (Smith, 2003, 2009). The members of the group learn together over time and create a collective memory of experiences and ideas (Smith, 2003, 2009). In a university setting, we could create communities of practice for each class, program of study, and area of interest. We could also give students the tools to create their own communities of practice, enabling them to learn in innovative and creative ways. Those tools could be blogs, wikis, discussion boards, and instant messaging and videoconferencing software (Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2015).

When people first become involved in a CoP, their participation is usually less significant than that of more experienced members (Smith, 2003, 2009). The community helps them learn the vocabulary and processes of the group.  They also learn how to interact with others in the group and what is important to the community as a whole (Smith, 2003, 2009). As they learn, they contribute more frequently and provide more pertinent information to the group (Smith, 2003, 2009).

This pipeline diagram is my vision for moving students through via a community of practice model.  A type of pipeline is created as students move through their studies and enhance their knowledge.  As students move through each of the various groups, they develop more complex skills and more specific relationships that will help them continue to grow and ultimately make connections with employers.  Once students graduate, they can still contribute to some of the communities and help others broaden their own knowledge.  This would help graduates stay connected to their alma mater and also foster the idea of lifelong learning.

As students' progress through the pipeline, they will be able to see how the connections they are making will help them in their future careers and be able to apply that to their courses and programs of study.  The students may decide through the help of the communities that they want to go in another direction.  These CoPs would help the university community become more innovative and creative and break out of the traditional mold (Smith, 2003, 2009).

Today's students can become easily frustrated by the slow-moving traditional structure of most universities (Smith, 2003, 2009). Look at how fast everything else in the world moves!  Using CoPs can help us transition to a fast-paced organizational model that supports online learners (Smith, 2003, 2009). They can also help all stakeholders become more informed participants in their own careers or areas of focus.

Ultimately, CoPs, along with other online learning tools, could create a more collaborative, community-focused environment for all students, no matter where they fall on the spectrum of student types. The communities can help students be better prepared for the workforce when they graduate, while fostering connections and mentors that can help them in academics and beyond.

By Guest Blogger

Lindsey Millan is an employee and graduate student at Kent State University. In her free time, she enjoys reading, roller skating, and spending time with her daughter. She is incredibly grateful for her husband Nate, who is supportive all of her endeavors.   



1. Smith, M.K. (2003, 2009). Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice. The encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved from

2. Becerra-Fernandez, I., & Sabherwal, J. (2015). Knowledge management: Systems and Processes(2nd Ed). New York, NY: Routledge Publishing Company

3. Millan, L. [Community of practice pipeline for universities]. Created March 2016.