SLA 2018 Recap | Practice Leadership and Serve Your Public!



Energy and insights abounded as more than 1,800 information professionals answered the call to “Bmore” and gathered in Baltimore for the SLA 2018 Annual Conference and SLA’s Pharmaceutical & Health Technology Division’s Annual Meeting.

“In the spirit of why the heck not, I’m heading out to a new conference experience today. Can’t wait to see what special libraries and @SLAhq are doing at #SLA2018.” —@lyndamk






“After #SLA2018 in Baltimore, we will B’more knowledgeable, connected, skilled, inspired, innovative, strategic, insightful, engaged — we will B’more everything” —@JamieeUK

“‘Twas the night before conference
And all through the day
SLAers governed, learned, and travelled
From points far away.
#SLA2018 #SLAers #cidermeetup @AlewifeBaltimor”

Diverse Backgrounds, yet Connected Experiences
SLA conference first-timers and “regulars” alike enjoyed coming together to develop new skills and hear fresh perspectives from peers in diverse industries—more than 600 different companies and institutions were represented. And on another level, it was an opportunity to connect in person with longtime digital colleagues and feel the physical manifestation of belonging to an incredible community.

“Excited to be attending my first #SLA2018. Many thanks to #DPHT for the Student Travel Award!” —@ddrummo_ellie

“Looking forward to seeing old friends at #sla2018” —@skeltzer

“The SLA 2018 Annual Conference was so much more than this first-timer expected! In addition to the interesting presentations, fun social events, and terrific keynote speakers, there was truly a sense of community and commitment. Plus, there were so many opportunities to network with colleagues, old and new. An immensely valuable experience!” —Jennifer Bartlett, Interim Associate Dean of Teaching, Learning, & Research, University of Kentucky Libraries

And the (Red/Orange/Yellow/Green/Blue/Purple/Black/White) Ribbon Goes To…
Building on the concept of first-timer’s purple ribbons, SLA members were able to select the ribbon displaying number of years they’ve been a member, and attach it to their name badge.







“1st international conference woohoo ! The ribbons are a great icebreaker #SLA2018” —@AnitrarossB

“I had to count twice – 35 years for me! #sla2018” —@mbromley

SLA 2018 Highlights:

Practice Leadership!
The general sessions of the SLA 2018 Annual Conference were part homecoming, part awards ceremony, and part keynote presentation, but the unifying thread running throughout them and the entire conference was leadership.

“’SLA is our professional home, and it should feel like home for all of us.’ Thank you Roberto! #SLA2018” —@AmyTrost

“All of us need to be leaders as SLA members. #sla2018 general session opening remarks.” —@Nan_Frost02

SLA President Roberto Sarmiento encouraged attendees to make the most of their time in Baltimore by practicing leadership—stepping out of their comfort zone by asking questions during education session, attending unit business meetings, or even striking up conversations with people they hadn’t met yet.











“Leadership is something you do, not a position you hold. Preach on! #SLA2018” —@rgbrizi

“A great group came together for the #DMIL Board Meeting. Thanks to everyone for their input and interest. #SLA2018” —@tammykirk

People with disabilities can be successful, too and even serve on the SLA Board! Thanks, #SLA2018 #slahq #SLAers! —@HildySoloLib

Throughout the general sessions, he distributed “Practicing Leadership” ribbons to individuals who shared on-stage examples of how they’d practiced leadership while at the conference.






“Got to stand for attending #slaleads #sla2018” —@PunkRockMuppet

“The #SLA Leadership Symposium is coming back in 2019!! Will be in NOLA again. #SLA2018 @slapittsburgh” —@rsplenda477

DICE Convenes
One meaningful opportunity for attendees to practice leadership was at the first gathering SLA’s new Diversity, Inclusion, Community, and Equity (DICE) Caucus, which is free for all current and incoming SLA members. To learn more visit






“New #SLA Caucus: Diversity, Inclusion, Community, and Equity (DICE). Free to all members!! #SLA2018 @slapittsburgh” —@rsplenda477

“Getting the conversation started at the DICE caucus meeting #sla2018 ” —@el399

All Types of Libraries—and Info Pros—Are Special
More than 1,000 attendees eagerly anticipated the opening keynote presentation from U.S. Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, and were in turn treated to words of wisdom, warmth, and wit.







“Black Friday sale? Nope. Waiting for @LibnOfCongress to speak. #SLA2018” —@jamesfmiller
“Trying to stay contained as I wait for #SLA2018 Keynote @LibnOfCongress” —@janis_js
“Dr. Hayden gets a standing o before she ever utters a word! #TrueLove #SLA2018 @LibnOfCongress” —@mandosally
“#SLA2018 An amazingly inspirational keynote from Dr. Carla Hayden! And I had no idea she was an ‘accidental librarian.’” —@jenbart

In addition to sharing a touching glimpse at her path to becoming the librarian she is today, Dr. Hayden challenged librarians and info pros to put their leadership skills to work, saying that skepticism about the veracity of information is rising and that librarians can and should put such doubts to rest.

“What is happening is that the appetite for the real thing—How do we know that this is authoritative? How do we know this is the actual factual information?—has been growing. And this is a unique time for us, as information professionals, to claim that space.” —Carla Hayden, U.S. Librarian of Congress






“What better way to start a conference could there be than hearing Dr. Carla Hayden speak!! #SLA2018” —@librarikat

“Line to ask questions of Carla Hayden is looong!! #sla2018 #slaers” —@leavitt9

“@LibnOfCongress Carla Hayden:communicate the value of your work and expertise, show how you’ve impacted your organization, in language your org’s leaders will understand and appreciate. #SLA2018 ” —@NadineFAnderson

She also stressed the importance of uniting libraries and information professional across specialties.

“Food for thought from Dr Carla Hayden @librarycongress : How can we make more connections between our libraries? #SLA2018 #slaers” —@amyjank

“I almost cheered when #carlahayden gave a shout out for her career as a #publiclibrarian but didn’t, but I really appreciate her reminder that therre are lots of links between public libraries and SLA. #SLA2018” —@jjjinglis

“The importance of connecting together. Different types of libraries – special, academic, public – should develop partnerships. #SLA2018” —@ddrummo_ellie

“@LibnOfCongress Dr. Carla Hayden! “The common thread is service, whatever your public is.” #SLA2018” —@DiFazioStacey













“@LibnOfCongress “I love being with my library peeps” -Carla Hayden @SLAhq in #SLA2018 ” —@NykiaPerez

“Got to meet @LibnOfCongress today after her awesome keynote today. Definitely a highlight of #SLA2018 and we’re just getting started!” —@jesskaaking

Awaken the Soul of Your Data
Tuesday’s keynote by Sayeed Choudhury, associate dean of research management at Johns Hopkins University, magnified the critical links between technology, data, and activism. Though he joked about being “sandwiched” between Dr. Hayden and closing keynote and author Wes Moore, his message complemented recurring conference themes of practicing leadership and serving one’s public.











“Love that @esayeed is highlighting the perils of limiting contributors to/emphasizing the contributions of privileged voices. Extra points for doing it with a self-deprecating story AND by signal boosting two women to learn from. Anyone catch both Twitter handles? #SLA2018” —@Kinthelibrary

“@eSayeed is speaking to my heart in his aspiration to link technology, inclusion and activism together in libraries #SLA2018 ” —@AmyTrost

“Some pretty powerful social justice messages in @esayeed’s keynote. Really well-done and timely. Thank you! #SLA2018 #SLAers” —@annenb

Tell Stories of the Other
There was nary a dry eye in the house as Wes Moore, author and Army combat veteran—among many other things—shared his moving personal story. Echoing themes from the previous two keynotes, he underscored that while data can often provide a much-needed context, it is stories—particularly stories of “the other”—that promote real action, and that librarians and info pros have a tremendous potential to effect change as the keepers of stories, culture, and hope.

“Our success will not be defined by what we do, but rather by the people who are there with us…We all stand here as products of hope, of beliefs, of hard work…What do we do with this? Our job is to spread these stories as wide as possible. Wes Moore #SLA2018 #SLAhq” —@deemagnoni

“#SLA2018 data are important but stories promote action” —@cpikas

“#SLA2018 everyone not attending the closing session w @iamwesmoore start regretting it now. #Bmore” —@halkirkwood

“Wes Moore is the only keynote speaker I’ve seen in my entire SLA life from 1995 to present who actually made tears come to my eyes. Well done sir! #SLA2018 #thinkingofmybabies ” —@jamesmanasco

“I think we can all agree that @SLAhq and our conference planners knocked it out of the park with these speakers! #slaer #sla2018” —@tiflopez

Good Morning Baltimore
The bold and playful look of SLA 2018 was inspired by the movie “Hairspray,” set in 1962 Baltimore. In keeping with both the aesthetic and the “Bmore” theme, SLA Executive Director Amy Burke decided to “Bmore retro,” appearing onstage with an eye-catching bouffant hairstyle. After reflecting on how far SLA had come through the years, she asserted that she was even more excited about SLA’s future.


“Loving @amylesti’s hair, hon! #SLA2018” —@desertlibrarian

“SLA2006 in Baltimore hot topics: federated searches, building social capital, taxonomic webspaces. #SLA2018 hot topics: AI, 3D printing, altmetrics, data visualisation and analysation. We can see how far we’ve come, and what has changed.” —@JaimeeUK

There were a few other nods to 1960s “Charm City,” including the INFO-EXPO hall being opened by Baltimore’s world-famous “hons” (a term of endearment from the 1950s and 1960s, short for “Honey,” for colorfully dressed and beehive-bedecked Baltimore natives).







“Opening the #infoexpo is always fun. #SLA2018 is no exception, hon” —@tammykirk

“Look!  Is it a Baltimore Hon or @cyberhuffine?  You make the call! #SLA2018” —@jamesmanasco

Talk about a kid in a candy store! Upon entering the INFO-EXPO, each attendee was granted full access to 132 exhibitors boasting the latest technological advances for information professionals. INFO-EXPO visitors also attended Exhibitor Theater presentations and networking events, including the Students and New Professionals SLA Bootcamp and the Fellows and First-Timers Reception.







“Being able to focus on vendor products and have them all available so easily is of huge value. I always find out about new offerings and have quality conversations to express our organizational needs” —Survey respondent

Back by popular demand, The Park and Main Street SLA were perfect places to catch a breather between sessions, meet up with friends, and learn about SLA’s many units and other membership benefits—right in the exhibit hall.











“Hey @slapittsburgh members! Come to our chapter’s kiosk to grab a PGH Chapter ribbon, Pitt Alumni ribbon, and/or a Heinz pickle pin!! #SLA2018 #pittsburgh” —@rsplenda477

“Come check out our booth for an #sla2018 bingo board of your very own!” —@SLANewEngland

Awards and Honors
SLA recognized 13 members (pictured below, with 2018 SLA President Roberto Sarmiento) for their dedication and contributions to the association and the information profession at large:

John Cotton Dana Award: Karen Kreizman Reczek
SLA Hall of Fame: Praveen Kumar Jain
SLA Fellows: Kevin Adams, Elizabeth Brown, Robin Dodge, Elaine Lasda, and Kimberly Silk
Rose L. Vormelker Award: David Cappoli (not pictured because was not able to attend)
SLA Rising Stars: Anya Bartelmann, Willow Fuchs, Eric Tans (not pictured because was not able to attend), Heide Tebbe, and Caren Torrey














“Congratulations to all the SLA Award winners! #SLA2018” —@katnpp

“@KarenReczek is so deserving of the John Cotton Dana award. She’s influenced so many #SLAers, the profession, and our organization. Congrats! #SLA2018 ” —@joy_m_banks

“SLA Dana Award winner @KarenReczek is honoring the late Jim Matarazzo in her remarks! … #Classy #SLA2018” —@SaraTIFR

Top-Notch Learning
SLA 2018’s eight certificate and continuing education classes and more than 100 education sessions offered real-life lessons that would be hard to come by elsewhere. Attendees took away discipline-specific insights, lessons in general librarianship, and ever-relevant management and marketing tips. Want to revist a session or check out one that you missed? Learn how here.




“The education sessions at SLA 2018 were top notch. I attended sessions from several tracks and left nearly every one with actionable info and new ideas to take back to my colleagues” —Kate Vilches, librarian, Lockheed Martin

 “That feeling when there are FIVE sessions you want to attend, all starting at the same time. Where are we going to find slides uploaded? #polymath #curious #SLA2018” —@ShinyDoom

“Excellent session on reference questions, learnt some new techniques for dealing with different types of requests. This is what conference is all about #SLA2018” —@saywhat32

“Really enjoying @LibOnTheWater and Natalie Burclaff’s deep dive into curriculum mapping. These substantive presentations provide practical approaches that I can bring back to my home library. #SLA2018” —@AmyTrost

Connecting with Colleagues
Most SLA conference-goers relish the formal and informal socializing that is built into each year’s event. This year, individuals got to know each other and reconnect with old friends in settings including from units breakfasts, dine-arounds at local restaurants, the Fellows and First-Timers Reception, and IT Division’s infamous dance party.











#SLA2018 provides me with networking opportunities galore, which is critical to me as an early career librarian covering two different subject areas.” —Amanpreet Kaur, community health & engineering librarian, University of Pennsylvania

“Seeing my SLA family is the best part of the annual conference #SLA2018” —@kimberlysilk

“SLA joint cabinet meeting. Plenty of information and laughter! So Fab! #sla2018” —@mmkhlava

DPHT Annual Meeting
To allow even more information professionals to benefit from its educational programming, SLA’s Pharmaceutical & Health Technology Division (DPHT) co-located its annual meeting with SLA’s annual conference. Attendees gained practical strategies into improving healthcare information delivery and vendor management and had the rare opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with other information professionals in the industry. The event culminated in a one-of-a-kind reception at the National Aquarium.
















“What a full day of programming at #DPHT2018! We’ve learned tips and tricks for new managers and about the perks and challenges associated with RA21. What was your favorite part? #SLA2018 #DPHT2018” —@cnorton_infopro

“What a great end to #DPHT! Now off to the #cidermeetup.” —@Kithelibrary

Loyalty Club Toast
Tried-and-true SLA supporters mingled, reminisced, and raised a glass to SLA’s future at an exclusive SLA Loyalty Club event. The Loyalty Club recognizes SLA members who have donated $100 or more to support SLA, its programs, and scholarships.

Reducing Our Footprint …






“Thrilled to see eco “plastic” compostable cups at #SLA2018! #SLAers – put recyclables, including eco cups, in bins with clear bags. Landfill trash only goes in the bins with black bags. #GreenSLA” —@annenb

“Kudos to @SLAhq for improving the digital schedule app & reducing the number of printed schedules. Way to lower the carbon footprint! #SLA2018” —@ShinyDoom

… And Giving Back to Baltimore
SLA joined forces with the Maryland Book Bank and collected children’s books at the conference. The donations will benefit the Maryland Book Bank Bookmobile, which goes to Title I schools in Baltimore City. Pre-K to Grade 3 children select and keep five books from their Bookmobile visit.







See you in Cleveland!
After a conference experience that won’t soon be forgotten, many attendees are already counting down to SLA 2019, which will be held June 14–18 in Cleveland. We can’t wait to see you there! In the meantime, keep the conversation going and keep practicing leadership!







“Dear everyone at #sla2018, Did you know that #iamalibrarian is our regular hashtag?? Keep the conversation going 24/7!!” —@PodcastLib

“Don’t forget #SLAers. That’s one of my favorite hashtags.” —@braunsk







SLA staff would like to thank all who made SLA 2018 an enriching and memorable experience:

  • Attendees and exhibitors
  • Richard Huffine and the 2018 Annual Conference Advisory Council
  • SLA Maryland Chapter
  • Unit planners and presenters
  • Keynotes
  • SLA Board of Directors







“This is my tribe! I loved giving back to the association by being on the Annual Conference Advisory Committee for Baltimore. #SLA2018” —@ShinyDoom

“Thanks to the @SLAhq Board of Directors for their hard work and service! #sla2018” —@dan_bostrom

“I have attended SLA Annual every year since SLA2001 in San Antonio, and I have always learned something new each time, either from the sessions, networking events or even the Info-Expo. The connections made (with information and people) is worth the money spent!” —Christine Geluk, MSLIS, principal & founder, Librarian At Your Service LLC

“The SLA annual conference never fails to open up new horizons and opportunities for my organization and me!” —Jane Kinney Meyers, president, Lubuto Library Partners

And as always, thank you to our partners for supporting the SLA 2018 Annual Conference and the INFO-EXPO:

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