Candidate Question #4 (Professional and Personal Growth)

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

(Kama Siegel, Candidate for Chapter Cabinet-Elect)

I am one of those annoying people who tells new or prospective SLA members, "I wouldn't have my job if not for my ORSLA membership." And it's true! I also don't think it's particularly unusual, though feel free to weigh in below. Our profession is all about forging connections between individuals in order to make a strong and supportive network. This network often results in incredibly useful, if not lucrative, connections. Such rewards require time and energy to be put in, but it is absoultely worth it.

It is actually difficult to distinguish personal from professional growth attributable to SLA membership. My skills as a networker (is that a word?) and public speaker have been honed, but I would consider both of those skills valuable in all aspects of life. I have also been fortunate to create relationships with people I would not have met were it not for my involvement in SLA. These relationships are personally fulfilling as well as professionally. Not only have they increased my circle of friends, but also my knowledge and appreciation of the vast range of librarianship in our organization.

Going to SLA annual conferences always allows me to increase my awareness of innovations and trends in the profession. It is useful to peruse blogs, and a pleasant way to spend an evening is by having intimate discussions with fellow local librarians. But it's another thing entirely to be immersed in an intense environment with hundreds of professionals, all exchanging knowledge and ideas. It's a heady and enriching experience that cannot be replaced.

I often come home from annual conferences so chock full of ideas and enthusiasm that it's hard to know where to start. Even if I won't implement many of these ideas due to budget constraints or technological shortcomings, it is still valuable to be aware of what's out there and of what the possibilities are, in case I ever have the opportunity to carry them out.

I look forward to meeting (or reuniting with) many of you in Chicago! As you can tell, I'm getting pretty excited about it.

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