Update on Association Naming Discussion & Survey

January 10th, 2014 – Most SLA members feel the name Special Libraries Association reflects their professional interests, but many are concerned that it might hinder the association from attracting potential members and vendor partners, according to a survey conducted from October 15th – October 25th, 2013.

The survey had its genesis in the Joint Cabinet meeting at SLA 2013, when the Public Relations Advisory Council (PRAC) proposed to poll SLA members about their interest in changing the association’s name. Both the Chapter and Division Cabinets voted to support this proposal, so a survey was conducted in mid-October.

More than 2,500 members responded to the six-question survey, the key findings of which are as follows:

• Most respondents (57 percent) feel strongly or very strongly that the current name accurately reflects their professional interests.

• Slightly more than one-third agree that it is difficult to explain SLA to potential members and supervisors because of the association’s name; nearly as many disagree.

• Slightly more than one-third also agree that selecting a new name for the association would help attract potential members and business partners; nearly as many disagree.

• Members are evenly split on the question of whether SLA should discuss a name change.

After analyzing the survey results and the open-ended comments that many members included with their responses, PRAC submitted a report to the SLA Board of Directors with the following recommendations:

• SLA should not initiate a name change discussion with the membership in the next few years;

• SLA should engage in more, and more effective, advocacy on behalf of the profession;

• SLA should provide more professional education (but not necessarily technical education); and

• SLA should document the value of the individual and his/her role in the profession.


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