The Importance of Special Libraries

What makes a library a special library? There are of course thousands of more traditional school and academic libraries, which are all special in the excellent service they provide to their communities. Then there are even more libraries out there serving their communities in a unique and particularly focused way.

There’s the unusual. Take the incredible and inspiring Biblioburros, distributing books to children in rural Colombia on the backs of donkeys Alfa and Beto. Or Human Libraries, where you can “borrow” people with special experiences and “read” them by asking them questions about their lives.

And then there’s the more traditional niche library with a specific area of interest, providing specialized information resources for a particular user base. For example, law libraries, business libraries, medical libraries, government libraries, or military libraries.

But while all these libraries are special, we’re going to take a more in-depth look at military libraries.

What makes military libraries so special?

Quite a lot! Historically, the military have been significant library users. During World Wars I and II, the US forces were able to use camp libraries, set up by the American Library Association. This meant librarians travelling to war zones to help run them – in fact over 1,000 volunteered to do so. Reading, and reading to others, became a common form of therapy for those affected by war.

And this continues today. Whether on board every US Navy ship, or in remote bases in Afghanistan, library services remain an integral part of the US Defense Department’s focus on morale and welfare.

How does this work?

The SLA Military Libraries Division (DMIL), part of the Special Libraries Association, plays a key role in ensuring the military receive the library services they so need and deserve.

DMIL’s goal is to promote the importance of military libraries and librarians to the outside world. They also help their librarians in their roles by offering continuing professional development, a forum for the exchange of ideas, opportunities for networking and career enhancement.

Where does a subscription agent come in?

Well, subscription agents play a major role in the running of a military library, wherever that might be. Military libraries are like any other library, facing budget cuts and managing their resources ever more efficiently, so enlisting the help of a subscription agent pays off in no time. An experienced subscription agent like WT Cox can assist with the nuts and bolts of serials management, leaving libraries the time to focus on their users.

WT Cox’s award-winning library services

WT Cox have been in the library subscriptions business for over 45 years – military libraries included. Their knowledge and expertise is particularly valuable. Rare for a vendor, they scooped an award at the 2019 DMIL Awards this November. WT Cox’s Debra Knox won the DMIL Distinguished Service Award, alongside the DMIL’s current Chair, Travis Ferrell.

Debra’s role within DMIL is unique as a sales representative, and her continued commitment to the Division has allowed it to thrive. According to the DMIL, Debra has been our voice among vendors and on the various SLA Planning committees. Her care and concern for service members and those serving the military has made her an outstanding member of DMIL and well deserving of the Distinguished Service Award.”

Proudly accepting the award, Debra said: “Do not underestimate the power of giving yourself to a cause you believe in. I am proud to support the mission of military libraries all over the world and have done so for more than 20 years. The librarians in this community are the most dedicated group of individuals I have ever had the pleasure to meet. They have become friends. They are the “special” in special libraries!”

Exceptional customer service

At WT Cox we’re known for exceptional levels of customer service. We take care of the day-to-day running of your serials management, allowing you more time to focus on what really matters – your patrons.

WT Cox – Experience Choice. Where extraordinary service happens.

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