Is SLA an International Organisation/Organization?
Candidate Question 5: SLA is an international organization. How can SLA involve and reach out more to members outside of North America?
Finally, a hard question to answer and an important one. I don't know that the answer I give here is the right answer or even on the right track. What I do know is that this is a question that requires the input from our non-North American members and leaders.
While writing Next-Generation Corporate Libraries and Information Services and talking with colleagues in Australia and the United Kingdom my eyes were opened. Information professionals in different countries face similar professional challenges.
- Communicating Value
- Getting and Retaining the Right Position
- Access to the best resources for continuous education and networking.
Working with our non-North American colleagues in the context of SLA forces us to face a couple of central challenges: Communication and Understanding. The communication challenge stems from cultural and language differences. Understanding is a more complex challenge. SLA must work to understand what our non-North American members and leaders need. Are resources needed to help members join and retain membership in SLA? What are the barriers to SLA membership? Is it cost, is it value for investment, is it justification to upper management? Or is it simply a question of members asking Why? What's in it for me?"
SLA leaders we must make the conscious effort to ask the correct questions. We must also listen carefully so that we can work towards addressing the issues that our non-North American members face. Assumptions will get us in trouble.
Challenges exist for local meetings for chapters in Australia/New Zealand and other similarly geographically spread out Chapters. SLA must understand the continuous need for these members to connect and keep the tools that meet their needs in working order. In addition to what does work, we must seek new opportunities that are affordable and practical. Listservs, webinars and Skype calls are just a few methods that may be useful.
Who knows what will help the members connect and continue their education? Our members reiterate that education, networking and advocacy are the key reasons for joining and retaining membership.I have no doubt that SLA can provide the tools and opportunities necessary to provide engagement, and advocacy in the international membership. The key to success is remembering SLA is more than an established North American organization – SLA is a growing International Organisation.
Candidate Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect
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