Candidate Question #1 at the Leadership Development Institute
Tell us about yourself and your primary message.
Good morning. Before I begin, I want to thank the members on this year’s Nominations Committee for giving me the opportunity to be a candidate for President-Elect.[Newspaper clipping demo using paper and venetian blind.]
When I joined the L.A. Herald Examiner’s Editorial Library in the mid-1980s, this is what I did on my first day of work – for 8 hours. I was the first step on a news clipping’s route to the news archive. I was the newbie at the Herald-Ex, and having been a journalism and sociology major in college, I took the only newspaper opening available in Los Angeles for someone really wet behind the ears. After a while I began to ponder the world of news librarianship and graduated from clipping news articles. The Library Director, Ann Sausedo, took an interest in me and invited me to join her at an SLA conference in Denver. I had never been to any sort of conference before and I had a wonderful time. And the piece that stuck with me the most about that SLA conference was not the great sessions that I attended – there were none on groundbreaking techniques for clipping a newspaper – or the exhibits. It was the people. The people who openly shared the diversity of their experiences. The people who spoke with candor. The people who offered guidance. It was about the people then, and it is about the people now.
And this is why, since being asked to run for President-Elect, I have focused on the terms renewal and engagement. From students, to those new to the profession, to established professionals (notice how I did not use seasoned pros or war veterans here), to those near or in retirement, we as leaders need to connect to these people and engage their participation in SLA. We can learn and benefit from all of their experiences.
Working with students at UCLA for some time, they continually invigorate me with their enthusiasm for the future even when faced with a tough job market as is the case in California. Their grasp of new ways of thinking about age old problems reinforces my faith in the information profession, and their willingness to give even while immersed in course work astounds me. But we need to help these students and new professionals by being the bridge between their education and their professional lives. And while we have begun to do so with the creation of the FutureReady toolkit, we can do more. A study worth noting is the Workforce Issues in Library & Information Science 2 report released in 2010 that surveyed alumni in the first five years following graduation. 84% of these newly minted professionals held membership in a professional association, but only 18% held some sort of office in an association. And more than 70% noted that they are willing to pay for their own continuing education.
While we need to tap those coming into the profession, we also need to engage our international network of experienced members to draw from their knowledge and leadership potential. To do so, we need to look at ways in which the association can engender a greater sense of belonging, inclusion, and loyalty through more transparent and consistent communication. One of the strengths of SLA has been the ease by which a member can develop leadership skills and this needs to be conveyed to those undiscovered experts. Of special note is the SLA Encore survey which focused on those members who are retired or have been SLA members for more than 20 years. When asked if they saw themselves actively involved with SLA going forward, 47% agreed.
SLA has always provided me with a rich network of support, professional development, and opportunities for growing my leadership potential, and I look forward to showing this value to new, continuing and potential members.
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