Candidate Question #4: Professional and personal growth through SLA

Question #4. How has your work with SLA over the years helped you grow professionally and personally?

Submitted by John J. DiGilio, Candidate for Treasurer

This is such a tough question to answer.  Not because I have to fish for a response, but rather because I could probably go on at great length on the many things SLA has done for me.  Few organizations have touched me as deeply as this one.  Certainly none have been the focus of so much of my own attention over the years.  SLA has done more for me as a professional and a person than I could ever repay with my own activities.  Just to name some of the ways in which SLA has enriched my life and my career:

Professionally:  SLA has been at the very core of my professional trajectory.  As a newly minted librarian, oh so long ago, SLA helped me explore the many options available to budding info pros.  It was and remains a partner in my professional education, support, and outlook.  From helping me negotiate the waters of the job hunt (more than once!) to connecting me with some of the best and the brightest in this industry, SLA was been with me in every professional move.  I have always been able to count on my Association and my colleagues there to help me grow, advance and transition.  In this, it is as important to me as it was the day I walked in the doors of my library school.  We have walked a long and wonderful path together.  May there be a lot of walking still to come!  Finally, SLA remains one of the most important partners in my continuing education.  The programming and educational outreach is hard to match and impossible to beat.  I would not be half the professional I am without the practical knowledge and experience I get through SLA.

Personally:  SLA was there for me when I was not sure that becoming a librarian was the right thing to do.  It is with me today when I talk to new students about the opportunities in this amazing industry.  Through example and education, SLA opened my eyes to a professional world that was far bigger, far more diverse, and far more exciting than I could have ever imagined!  When I talk about who I am as a person, not just as a professional, I call upon my affiliation with this Association.  When I apply my skills outside the office to community and family projects, I carry with me the work ethic and commitment to excellence that I have seen demonstrated by my SLA colleagues.  The Special Libraries Association is present in my workday and my homelife in so many ways.  It can be just too easy to take this for granted.  It is nice to be able to sit down, answer this question, and really take stock of why I am in this Association and this race.  Thank you, SLA!

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