SLA Recognizes Student Groups for Leadership and Innovation

San Jose State, Western Ontario Student Groups lauded for programming efforts

Alexandria, Virginia, 3 September 2015—The Special Libraries Association’s 20 student groups are innovative, forward-thinking networks of MLS and MLIS candidates at leading educational institutions. Each year, SLA honors a select few of these groups for their achievements in various areas, such as leadership and programming.

For the 2014-2015 academic year, SLA is honoring the following student groups with a certificate of merit:

  • San Jose State University: Innovative Programming
  • University of Western Ontario: Outstanding Leadership

The Student Group Certificate of Merit is awarded by SLA’s Student and Academic Affairs Advisory Council (SAAAC), which advises SLA on student programs and activities for SLA’s chapters and divisions. Click here to learn more about the Student Group Certificates of Merit.

“The energy and initiative that went into both of these programs are truly impressive,” said Kim Dority, chair of the SAAAC. “These are great examples of the important role that SLA student groups are taking on in the association—not just contributing innovative ideas, but also putting them into action.”

San Jose State University Student Group
The San Jose State University SLA Student Group is recognized for its achievements in innovative programming.

The San Jose State University Student Group’s goal is to create professional engagement and networking opportunities for its student members. During the 2014-2015 academic year, the group greatly expanded its programming to meet that goal. Specifically, the group organized the following:

  • Three events co-sponsored with other SJSU iSchool student groups;
  • Three Twitter chats on topics in special librarianship;
  • Three Webinars on special librarianship and topics of interest to future library professionals; and
  • Online social hours and business meetings.

In developing their programs, the students were determined to collaborate with professional organizations and local SLA chapters in addition to furthering their work with other SJSU student groups and SLA student groups from other schools. To reach a broader audience with their programming, the group actively advertised their events with the Silicon Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Oregon, and New England Chapters of SLA.

In addition to developing and promoting their own events, the group members adopted some of the goals espoused by the SAAAC. These goals included not only using Twitter to expand their programming, but also developing an online newsletter and conducting a logo contest.

University of Western Ontario Student Group
The University of Western Ontario Student Group of SLA (SLA-UWO) is recognized for outstanding leadership over the past year and especially for the following multi-faceted effort.

SLA-UWO worked hard during the 2014-2015 academic year to bring networking and professional development opportunities to MLIS students at the University of Western Ontario. The group’s executive team planned multiple tours of special libraries, providing students with opportunities to network with industry professionals and see how their unique skills can be utilized in various work settings. The group also planned fundraisers to raise money for events and build a community of students interested in special librarianship. The group’s Halloween‐O-Grams and Valentine’s Day Candy-grams were just two examples of efforts that helped fund the tours and events planned for each term.

In addition to the tours and fundraisers, SLA-UWO organized speaker sessions so that students could connect with special library professionals and learn more about special librarianship in the workforce. For example, in coordination with SLA’s Toronto Chapter, the group organized a speaker session in late 2014. During the event, students were able to learn more about the profession and the benefits of joining a professional organization such as SLA.

The group’s winter speaker session with Nathalie Donohue, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation media librarian, highlighted the importance of being adaptable not only in the workplace, but beyond the workplace as well. Donohue revealed that she was going to start her own business after the CBC made cutbacks that resulted in the loss of her job. The session was a reminder to value our acquired skills and not be afraid of venturing off into entrepreneurship!

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 68 countries in a variety of work environments, including businesses, government agencies, law firms, colleges and universities, and museums. SLA promotes and strengthens its members through learning, advocacy and networking initiatives. For more information, visit

Julio Santos

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