Call to ‘Move SLA Forward’ Opens 2022 Conference

Three years after hosting its previous in-person conference and four years removed from what was supposed to be its first-ever conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Special Libraries Association opened its 2022 Annual Conference in the “Queen City” with a call to move the organization forward.

“We want to help you move forward in your career and profession, and we want to move SLA forward,” said 2022 SLA President Catherine Lavallée-Welch during the opening general session. “That’s part of the inspiration for the new conference tagline we’ve created: Source Forward.

“Information professionals are experts at researching, analyzing, organizing, and providing—sourcing, you might say—information to stakeholders. At this conference, experts in taxonomy, digital object management, copyright, competitive intelligence, and other topics are sourcing information to a very select group of stakeholders—us. And the information they’re sourcing will help move us forward and advance our careers.

“SLA’s roots are in building professional communities for learning, connecting, and sharing. That’s the source of our success. And the conference is integral to learning, connecting, and sharing. So this tagline captures the essence of who we are and what we’re about.”

The first day of the conference featured more than 15 education sessions, a keynote address, meetings of SLA community leaders and members, a reception and networking event, and the opening of the exhibit hall. One of the education sessions was a presentation of contributed papers, which addressed topics ranging from predatory journals publishing in health sciences to the life and career of former SLA President Vivian Davidson Hewitt to making information about the cost of water more accessible to water users.

“How do you make a trout an actor in a database?” asked Isabel Carlin, a student in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia. Her contributed paper, “The Cost of Water: Information Access for Public Empowerment,” described an online database that is designed to help make
information about the economic value of water more accessible to a broader audience.

The opening day was highlighted by the presentation of awards. Four SLA members received the James Matarazzo Rising Star Award, which is presented to outstanding new SLA members who show exceptional promise of leadership and contribution to the association and profession:

  • Julia Bhojoo, an information officer at Kingsley Napley in London and the founder of LawLibWiki;
  • Samuel Hansen, mathematics and statistics librarian at the University of Michigan;
  • Valerie Moore, outreach and engagement librarian and assistant professor at Prairie State College in Illinois; and
  • Wei Zakharov, associate professor and engineering information specialist in the Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies.

Two SLA members, Ruth Kneale and Tony Stankus, were inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame, SLA’s oldest honor. Both are Fellows of SLA, and Stankus was given the Rose L. Vormelker Award in 2005. Kneale served on the SLA Board of Directors in 2015-2017 and has been active in SLA’s Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics Community, serving as chair in 2011. Stankus has been active in SLA’s Biomedical & Life Sciences Community, serving as chair in 2014.

The opening day also featured a keynote address by Jennifer Garcon, the librarian for modern and contemporary special collections at Princeton University. She talked about the complex position that institutions like libraries, archives, and museums find themselves in when attempting to engage community partners. Garcon drew on her experience with building post-custodial archival projects to explain how to navigate the power disparity between institutions and communities and embark on models of community-centered practices and shared governance.

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