Why I belong to SLA

SLA Board Candidate Question 2: When did you first join SLA? What made you decide to join then, and why do you still belong today?

Tara Murray, candidate for Division Cabinet Chair-elect:

Professional associations have played an important role in my life since I joined a student chapter of ALA in grad school.

When I landed in a very specialized library at Penn State's Population Research Institute just a couple years after receiving my degree, I remembered my advisor telling me about SLA. My decision to join was made even easier when my predecessor in the job encouraged me to do so. I was not disappointed when I was warmly welcomed by my new colleagues at my first chapter meeting. Soon after, I was recruited to manage the chapter's discussion list.

The more involved I've become in SLA over the years, the more I get out of my membership. My chapter and division discussion lists continue to be valuable sources of information and advice. New channels like LinkedIn and Facebook groups have fostered lively discussions not tied to particular units. I look forward to each annual conference, both for the learning opportunities and to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. The leadership summits I've been able to attend have given me an opportunity to talk with and learn from SLA's leaders. In between conferences, I've been able to learn new skills through webinars offered by units through SLA's GoToMeeting account. My roles in my chapter and division have helped me gain confidence and develop leadership and public speaking skills. I feature these experiences prominently on my resume and have talked about them in interviews. In fact, SLA helped me land my dream job.

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