Enhancing the Value of SLA
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the value of the information professional, one of three strategic priorities developed by the SLA Board of Directors and staff last year. This post focuses on another of the priorities: the value of SLA.
I believe most members would agree that the value of SLA lies in what we can do collectively. As the saying goes, all of us are stronger than any one of us. SLA provides opportunities for information professionals to act collectively on several different levels:
- The association as a whole provides a forum for information professionals around the world to share ideas, collaborate on projects, and advance the profession.
- Chapters and divisions provide opportunities for networking, learning, and mentoring.
- Committees and councils provide opportunities to volunteer, hone our skills, and advance the association and profession.
- Awards programs provide opportunities to recognize excellence in achievement.
- Continuing education programs and Webinars offer opportunities for professional development.
- The SLA Annual Conference provides opportunities for all of the above, and a chance to raise our profile within the surrounding community.
Our structural and programmatic framework has served us well for more than a century, but we must “lean into the curve” and take steps to ensure that SLA continues to provide value for tomorrow’s information professionals. As I said in my previous post, I truly believe our association and profession are at a turning point, and it is critical that we begin taking bold steps now to move forward and accelerate toward a positive future.
With that in mind, we have engaged change consultants to develop recommendations to the board in eight areas, some of which (such as products and services) will bear on the value of SLA. We also have created task forces to address specific value-related issues, including the following:
- The Competencies Task Force is working to update the information profession’s core competencies, which were last revised in 2003.
- A new Advocacy Task Force will be developing real-life, adaptable and appealing case studies and articles aimed at helping members demonstrate their contribution to the success of their employers.
- The Volunteer Experience Task Force is working to create a toolkit of easily digestible and applicable tools that will help unit leaders better manage their chapters and divisions, where so much of the value of SLA lies.
Through these and other initiatives, we are engaging our worldwide network of members and professional partners to strengthen SLA and increase its value to information professionals and the information profession. I encourage you to join this effort and share your ideas with me about how we can continue to move forward. Please send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Jill Strand, SLA President
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