Tackling Fake News, Digital Preservation, and More in Phoenix at SLA 2017 Annual Conference

Lessons Abound for Information Profession and Stakeholders

McLean, Virginia, 13 July 2017—Best practices and new developments in finding, organizing, and sharing decision-ready information brought information professionals and special librarians to Phoenix in mid-June for the 2017 Annual Conference of the Special Libraries Association (SLA).

The five-day conference featured certificate and continuing education courses, business meetings, networking activities, and more than 110 educational sessions for the 1,515 attendees on topics such as fake news, information bias, digital preservation, artificial intelligence, privacy, data management and leadership development. David Ferriero, archivist of the United States, and Roberta Shaffer, former law librarian of Congress, were just two of the respected voices of the library and information community who were part of the lineup of conference presenters. The conference boasted an exhibit hall showcasing cutting-edge technologies, products, and services from 132 industry partners, which 98 percent of attendees surveyed took time to visit.

The conference’s three general sessions provided plenty of food for thought: an opening keynote presentation by NPR’s Peabody Award-winning Lulu Miller on the critical role of information professionals guiding colleagues and other stakeholders to the truth, a “Dream Jobs for Info Pros” panel featuring information professionals from The Hershey Company, the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, and Uber Technologies, and a riveting presentation on tracking “space garbage” by Moriba Jah, who teaches aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at the University of Texas and formerly worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The general sessions also provided a forum for the presentation of awards to experienced and emerging leaders in the information profession. SLA’s highest honor—the John Cotton Dana award, named for the association’s founder—was bestowed upon Doris Small Helfer, department chair, collection access and management services at California State University Northridge.

“The SLA 2017 Annual Conference was a unique opportunity not only for the information professionals and librarians that attended, but for their employers as well,” said 2017 SLA President Dee Magnoni. “Lessons learned at the conference have direct relevance to, and impact on, the success of the organizations that attendees serve. These conferences are a rare chance for many of those attending to meet others who work in similar environments and who face and have been able to conquer similar challenges.”

An overwhelming 96 percent of attendees surveyed would recommend the SLA Annual Conference to a colleague and 94 percent considered participation in the SLA 2017 Annual Conference a productive use of their organization’s time and resources.

The full conference schedule is still available for viewing through the interactive program schedule.

For more information about the specific activities within the conference, read the SLA 2017 conference recap. Opportunities to participate in SLA’s 2018 conference in Baltimore, Maryland are now available.

About SLA
The Special Libraries Association (SLA) is a nonprofit international organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners. SLA serves information professionals in more than 50 countries and in a range of working environments, including business, academia, and government agencies. SLA promotes and strengthens its members through learning, advocacy and networking initiatives. For more information, visit sla.org.

Andrea Bomar

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