‘Staying Connected is One of the Most Compelling Reasons’

Connecting people and information captures the essence of the library profession, so it seems only natural that SLA would use it as its tagline. For many special librarians, the appeal of SLA membership is indeed the opportunity to make connections—but between themselves and other special librarians, not between people and information.

IO-bannerStacie Calabrese is a case in point. She manages the library for a medical communications company, but she does it from home, and the other people in her department are spread across the United States. Phone calls and chat programs keep her connected to her staff, but SLA is her connection to her profession.

“Staying connected is one of the most compelling reasons for me [to belong to SLA],” she told Information Outlook. “It’s extremely valuable to be able to meet others who are similarly situated and learn from each other. I also love that it seems like there is a strong amount of outreach and effort to be inclusionary. Sometimes it’s easy to dismiss an e-mail blast, but having personal invitations to participate in programs or opportunities can make a huge difference.”

Like many SLA members, Stacie came to librarianship after a stint in another profession—in her case, human resources. She found that the HR tasks she liked best, namely researching and compiling information, were relatively minor functions of her job. But not until she was laid off in 2009 did she make the connection between her passions and her current profession.

“One day I decided to investigate other careers that might work with my interests, and I discovered different types of librarianship, including special libraries,” she said. “Up to that point, I’d only really known about public and academic/school libraries. I hadn’t felt such enthusiasm about any career in years, and I quickly made the decision to apply to library school.”

Read the interview with Stacie to learn more about her career journey, how she benefits from SLA membership, and why she enjoys trivia and geocaching.

One response to “‘Staying Connected is One of the Most Compelling Reasons’”

  1. Laura Fu says:

    So true! I too was a remote and solo librarian for 2 years. I used LinkedIn, SLA and Twitter for brainstorming and getting help with projects. Since I didn’t have anyone I could physically turn turn to when in need, I relied heavily on virtual relationships.

    And I’ve kept most of those relationships, even meeting people at conferences or elsewhere. I met several of my colleagues here at UNC before I’d even moved here, and it’s a wonderful feeling to “know” people before you’ve even met.

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