SLA: Where the Learning Is

In Maurice Sendak’s popular children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, a boy’s bedroom magically transforms into a jungle, and he sails off to an island inhabited by “wild things” who proclaim him their king. In SLA, an equally magical transformation occurs—information professionals attend webinars and meetings and learn new skills and knowledge that help them perform their jobs better and take charge of their careers.

True, there’s nothing really magical about, say, controlled vocabularies or digital asset management, and webinars don’t lend themselves to picture books. But if you’re an information professional who considers learning an adventure, SLA is the place to visit—and your stay can be transformative.

In just the past six months, for example, SLA has offered webinars on (among other topics) developing budgets, recruiting and retaining talent), marketing your library or information center, using Excel for data analysis and visualization, negotiating with vendors, constructing a strategic plan, demonstrating the value of embedded librarians, managing projects, and talking about the value of information. Tomorrow, SLA will offer the third in a three-part webinar series on copyright and intellectual property management.

Copyright management is also the subject of a new 12-week certificate program that begins February 1. The copyright program joins two other certificate programs that SLA offers, one in knowledge management/knowledge services and the other in competitive and decision intelligence.

Earlier this month, SLA hosted its annual Leadership Symposium in New Orleans. The highlight of the event was a day-long exploration of personal leadership styles, establishing a leadership “brand story,” and building a leadership legacy, punctuated by a lunchtime idea exchange among the attendees.

In June, SLA will take learning to a whole new level (and location) at its 2019 Annual Conference. The conference, to be held in Cleveland, will include more than 100 education sessions on topics ranging from blockchain to genomic literacy to promoting a tech culture in your library to creating interoperable taxonomies.

And these are only the learning opportunities offered at the organizational level. SLA’s chapters (geographic entities, such as the New England Chapter) and divisions (subject matter entities, such as the Engineering Division or the Social Sciences & Humanities Division) offer learning opportunities as well. For example, the SLA Taxonomy Division recently presented a webinar on designing ontologies, and the Maryland Chapter is hosting a workshop on data types and data visualization in R (an extensible, open-source language and computing environment).

Interested in going on a learning adventure? It starts in SLA—and there’s no telling where or how far it will take you.

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