What Happened to International Special Librarians Day?

You are not imagining that little nagging voice in your head saying…

"What was it that I am supposed to remember in mid-April?…It isn’t U.S. Tax Day, but something about SLA… something important…I already registered for the 2008 SLA Annual Conference…I paid my membership dues… so what could it be??"

Rest easy, you are not going crazy because it IS that time of year again…time to celebrate librarians!

It’s National Library Week and each year the American Library Association (ALA) sponsors a week long celebration in mid-April to bring attention to, and educate the masses about, public and school libraries. In the past, during Library Week, SLA promoted a day of celebration focused solely on special librarians and information professionals, that day was called International Special Librarians Day (ISLD).

Some may be wondering now… What ever happened to ISLD? Why haven’t I heard anything about it for a few years?

ISLD was put on hiatus in 2006 while the SLA Public Relations Advisory Council assessed its effectiveness in educating the public about special librarians and information professionals and the value you bring to organizations.

Over the course of 2007, the PRAC aspired to create an event that would replace ISLD, as well as recognize and showcase the specialized skills and the value that info pros bring to an enterprise.

After looking at the issues that are important to clients and the business community in today's information economy, the PRAC determined that there is very little knowledge out there focused on what SLA members do every day…search, gather, and share information in an ethical manner.

Do CEOs and executives realize that their resident special librarian or info pro is providing additional value by protecting their organization from scandal, litigation, or worse? Not typically. And sadly, it is often only when it is too late that matters of information ethics (or the lack thereof) are brought to their attention.

With a desire to change this unfortunate reality, a decision was made to replace ISLD with a new, more engaging and informative day of education and celebration in April 2009. (drum roll, please…)

Mark your calendars: Information Ethics Day will be held 17 April 2009

At the start of this year, your SLA Chapter or Division appointed an SLA Ethics Ambassador, and rest assured they are already working behind the scenes to prepare for the official launch of Information Ethics Day in 2009 during SLA's Centennial Celebration.

Are you interested in shaping this effort or learning more about ethics? Most SLA units will hold town hall meetings about information ethics over the coming months, and the ambassadors will be gathering stories and feedback from members as part of SLA's Global Conversation on the topic this year.

Contact your unit's ethics ambassador, president or chair to get involved NOW!

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