Takeaways from my Visit to the Georgia Chapter
In January, I attended ALA’s Midwinter meeting in Atlanta in my capacity as SLA president. I attended two events for library association and funding agency leaders where we discussed our goals and visions. Diversity was a theme for everyone, as was the uncertain funding climate ahead. While we didn’t have solutions, we did identify shared goals.
While in town, I was able to visit the Georgia chapter on January 23. Chapter President Stephen Sherman (pictured below with me and Rebecca Gebhardt) and fellow members put together a great day. I began my morning at the Foundation Center, a library and training center that provides resources and services to area non-profits. Stephen, the Atlanta lead for the Foundation Center, gave me a tour and introduced me to staff. The space had recently been renovated, and there was a great balance of collaboration, training, and collections space.
Stephen and I discussed local challenges and opportunities, from recruiting the next generation of members to library and information center closures. While Atlanta does not have a native iSchool, the chapter is able to recruit from Valdosta State University as well as local students participating in virtual programs. Communicating the value of information professionals and advocating for budgets, spaces, and career development are all important focuses.
I next had a conversation with Rebecca Gebhardt, director at Vable North America (an industry partner) and treasurer of the Georgia Chapter. We discussed SLA’s current and future plans, including the newly created Industry Partners Alliance. We’re looking forward to a newly invigorated conference as well as robust year-round opportunities. In addition to partnerships, we discussed students and new professionals and how SLA can reach out, create connections, and help develop the next generation of information professionals.
Stephen, Rebecca, and I then headed to the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History. This beautiful library and archive is open to the public and houses books, memorabilia, art, and regalia. There are spaces for events and lectures, and the exhibit halls balance current and historic events with paintings, sculpture, and folk art.
Stephen, Rebecca, and I gathered in a meeting room with other chapter members and were guided through the library. Our tour brought us to lunch and the afternoon program, both sponsored by EBSCO. I then discussed SLA and the road ahead, focusing on my theme of “Experience SLA for Career Success” and my initiatives for 2017: my virtual member tour, diversity, implementing the competencies, our annual conference, the Industry Partners Alliance, and strategic planning. We had a lively discussion about Millennials, mentors, and the information industry. Branding, identity, and SLA’s name were part of the larger information industry discussion.
—Dee Magnoni, 2017 SLA President