Question 4: Personal and professional benefits of SLA involvement (Candidate Questions)

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

Kate Arnold ~ Candidate for President-Elect

In the 25 years I’ve been in the information profession I’ve always been actively involved in professional associations. For the last 12 years that’s meant being an active member of SLA. I’ve detailed below some of the ways my involvement with SLA has helped me grow professionally and personally, and I’m sure it will resonate with many members’ own experience.


  • opportunity to learn and try out new skills – managing, motivating and persuading (cajoling?) volunteers (different to line management as you don’t have the authority or power to get them to do things); setting up events (I’m a dab hand at setting up and staffing a booth); presentations and speaking (introducing events as President of the chapter; giving presentations on work projects at annual conference);
  • safe environment to try things out,  like speaking in public,  chairing a meeting, being part of a task force;
  • a group of friends who have provided invaluable support network at significant times over the years.


  • access to an unrivalled network of info pros, able to provide support, guidance and examples of  best practice (several work projects wouldn’t have got go ahead without input from my SLA network e.g BBC Research Central);
  • recognition of my achievements through Fellows award 2011 (as a by-product resulted in kudos at work);
  • opportunity to give something back to the profession and influence its future direction (Director role on SLA Board 2006-9 and member of Competencies Task Force 2012);
  • job opportunities – got at least one job through head-hunters who saw my involvement in SLA as both an accomplishment and credit;  something that made me stand out in the crowd.

I’d like to finish with a comment, made earlier this summer, by Annie Mauger, CEO of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals at a new professionals’ development event: ‘the more you get involved with the profession, the more chances you have to grow and find your potential.’ SLA offers the perfect place to get involved and reap the benefits professionally and personally.


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