SLA Joint Cabinet Candidate Speech: Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect

I am Constance Ard: business owner, information professional, volunteer, gardener and struggling fly fisherman. I am not unique. Each of us have a multitude of responsibilities and interests. We have chosen to give our time, energy and capacity to SLA because we get something of high value back for our investment. Relating that value is important.

In an age of interrupting technology that keeps us connected it is sometimes difficult to THINK. When I was asked to run for the board, I took time to THINK. I know that this volunteer job is an important one that has an effect on our members. I did not want to take it on unless I could truly give it the effort and ability necessary to be successful. So you may wonder what does Success look like for this position.

Success is working on behalf of the chapters to assist them in overcoming their challenges while balancing the realities of running the association's business. For me this means concentrating on a few key elements:

  • Harnessing the Knowledge of our Chapters in an Easy to use method that allows leaders to benefit from our foundations.

  • Bridging the generation gaps

  • Using the right tools in the right context to serve our members.

Harnessing our knowledge means making the best practices, the known home runs and the known failures easily accessible. This leads to mentoring and developing new leaders and makes the organization more sustainable.

  • There are generational issues on both ends of the spectrum

Librarians are learners. Our Encore members have a lot to give and a lot to gain. So do our Rising Members. We must embrace the knowledge and ideas of all members to continue providing High Value to the organization. This is a two way street that will lead to exciting opportunities.

  • Using the right tools in the right context. Technology is not always the best answer. SLA's strength comes from it people. Many of our members feel that it is the personal connection that is most important. For some chapters, personal networking opportunities are challenging.

Working with Chapters to find a way to connect in a way that brings members together is an intriguing project and I love projects.

If we can work on these three things we will strengthen SLA.

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? 3 Minutes

The education and networking must be preserved.

The method of delivering those opportunities probably needs to be reevaluated. The process has already begun with a spark from John DiGilio on Continuing Education. We should continue seeking ways to offer affordable education opportunities that are accessible to the members who do not attend the Annual conference. Webinars have been shown as an effective means of delivering valuable content in an accessible method.

Regional meetings are another method that can work. It is an opportunity to enhance the collaboration between Chapters, Divisions and even other information and knowledge organizations. And it provides that personal connection that our members want and expect.

A few years ago I worked with the Kentucky and Cincinnati Chapters and the Legal Division as well as the AALL Private Law Librarian Special Interest Section collaborated for a one day conference that had great content, excellent attendance and brought in new members, re-energized veteran members and recruited new volunteers.

We must not ignore the impact that these changes could have on our relationships with Vendors. I think there are great opportunities in this format and I think the Chapters can take the lead if they have a structure in place that makes the planning process easier.

We must market differently to attract more information architects, product developers and other non-traditional information professionals. We must do this at the chapter level in order to build that local base of membership.

In person networking for some chapters is a difficult challenge. We must understand which tools work and help the chapters take the best advantage of those tools.

Staffing – We must review the services offered to our members in light of the reduced staffing and their increased duties. What works? What doesn't?

Communication is a problem in this organization. The channels are multitude and the messaging is not necessarily consistent across all of the channels. Perhaps we need to reduce or revise how we distribute content.. When and how? Do we have a strategy for the new communication channels or are we just pumping information out without an end purpose in mind.

There are multiple challenges and multiple opportunities. Being thoughtful will help us find the right questions and the right Answers.

Constance Ard
Answer Maven
Candidate Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect









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.

2 responses to “SLA Joint Cabinet Candidate Speech: Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect”

  1. Harnessing our knowledge means making the best practices. This is really true. And I think those people who are planning to become politicians must practice being good in all times.

  2. @Plumbing Supplies – Thank you for your comment. I would never style myself as a politician – just a dedicated SLA member who answered the call of running for an important position to help harness the best practices I have been exposed to as a member and long term volunteer. I would expect input from all of our members to do best for the organization. Constance

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