SLA 2011 Candidate Speeches

Ann Koopman – Candidate for Division Cabinet Chair-Elect

Question 1:  Tell us about yourself and your primary candidate message 

I’d like to win your vote on the basis of my experience. 

While I’m also a member of BIO, IT & Academic Divisions, Sci-Tech is where I have done my division-level volunteering.  I’ve programmed 2 conventions for Sci-Tech, along with lots of local programs for my chapters. It’s fun and creative work.  For example, I started the popular “Science of…” series, now an annual event.   I’ve planned all types of events and stood on both sides of the podium.  I would bring a lot of planning experience to the leadership development events and to helping you with your plans.

While chair of Sci-Tech, I addressed our declining membership issues.  I asked our Awards Committee to start a new form of recognition of member milestones, studied our email list data and changed our communication patterns.  I raised money so our International Relations Committee could offer new travel support for our international students.  I reactivated and filled all of our committees to engage the next generation of division leaders, and reorganized our structure to cope with reduced allotment.  So when you need advice or want to talk about your great idea for your division, you’ll know I’ve been in your shoes.

Amazingly enough, I like to think about money.  I’ve owned a small business, run a political actional committee, led community coops, and served many terms as treasurer, business or budget manager for SLA Sci-Tech, Philadelphia Chapter, and an MLA/SLA multi-chapter regional conference, not to mention fundraising for 3 SLA conferences. 

I approach money constructively.  For example, when I first became its treasurer, the Philadelphia Chapter wanted to give an annual scholarship award, but was struggling with funding.  I convinced the chapter to start an annual auction program to fund an award endowment, chaired a committee to document award policies, and persuaded the board to adopt financial goals to fully fund the award for the foreseeable future.  Earlier today the chapter’s treasurer told me they’re going to reach their goal this year – they’ve raised $50,000! Hurray, Philly!  So when the Association Board or an individual division needs to talk about fiscal issues, I have a long record of positive development.

You’ve probably seen me tooling around the conference in my scooter, and may wonder about my ability to serve.  It’s true that I have had to fight my way back from some health issues over the last few years.  But I am back.  You won’t see me out dancing at midnight, and this voice is a bit hoarse, but when you call me, I’ll be ready to listen; when you need support, I’ll be there for you; and I can always find a way to be heard when I speak for my office.


Question #2:  The information industry is constantly changing (the players, the technologies, the information availability & needs, etc.). Living within this environment, SLA must be an agile organization able to adapt as the industry matures. What services/functions/features should SLA change and what absolutely must be preserved as we become Future Ready?

SLA’s value lies in the building of relationships between members as professionals in a growing and learning community of peers.   As a community, we’ve agreed on basic things we want to do together:

  • Continuous professional education
  • Standards and accountability
  • Advocacy for our interests
  • Self-perpetuation through the development of new leaders and fiscal strength

These core goals won’t change, but how we approach them will necessarily change over time as technology evolves.

For example, I think a future ready organization needs to make sure its tent is big and its doors are open.  The more we can do to collaborate with others across the information professions, expanding our peer group beyond the MLS, the better.  I’m proud to have graduated from a library school and consider myself a librarian, but my degree is an MA and my job title is Editor.  I work with a whole variety of information and education specialists; our joint work is enriched by that collaboration.  SLA could be enriched by enlarging our membership scope, collaborating with other associations on the events we hold, and seeking common ground with information-related peers.   

We need to continue to experiment with alternative technologies for meetings and program content, as SLA and many of our divisions and chapters have already been doing, finding ways to bridge geographic and travel challenges, especially for our international members. 

That also means we need to constantly evaluate our financial support model so that our funding is less dependent on one annual event whose nature is clearly in some flux.  As an ACRL member, I saw the heavy marketing for this year’s “need to know” track to regional non-SLA members, and that’s a terrific idea, as is our experiment with a virtual component. We need many more such ideas.

All good communities are strengthened by transparency and effective communication.  We’ve been working hard on that with new website support, wikis, blogs and Twitter.  At the same time, we need to constantly work on outreach skills – developing unit leader public relations skills, modeling positive and supportive communications, and figuring out how to engage our new members so they get hooked on SLA, just like us.  

Invitation, acceptance of diversity, celebration, role modeling, sharing, collaboration, experimentation, engagement – these are the magic words of community building.  To have a successful association, we all need to be community organizers. 

Our team is always focused on the most successful marketing campaigns, for example, if someone wants to buy cialis online, he knows where to do it because of the quality product and a strong brand.

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