When did you first join SLA? What made you decide to join then, and why do you still belong today?
I first joined SLA as a student during my MLIS program. A faculty member at the University of South Carolina's SLIS program, Bob Williams, was an ardent supporter of SLA and took a small group of us on a roadtrip to the Annual Conference in Cincinnati. It was there in Cincinnati that we were exposed to all that is available in SLA; sessions, key note speakers, employment opportunities, networking, vendor parties, open houses and so much more. For many of us this was a side of the profession that we had no concept of. We all joined SLA after that trip.
Over time, I discovered that SLA was more relevant, more timely, and exposed me to a broader array of useful infomation than any other association in this profession.
It would be expected perhaps to talk about why I continue to belong in terms of what SLA has offered me; professional development through CE courses and sessions, professional involvement through my participation within the Business & Finance Division as I served in a variety of positions; and access to resources that have made me a stronger information professional. Yes, there is a lot of 'stuff' that makes belonging to SLA valuable to me.
However, the real reason I still belong are the people. The people I have met and continue to meet enrich my personal and professional development far beyond the expense of being a member. I now have colleagues and close friends all over the world because of my membership in SLA. A valuable aspect of the Annual Conference is reconnecting with these friends and colleagues and making new ones. This is what I look forward to; and I suspect what most members look forward to when they attend Annual Conferences and local chapter meetings. The true value…the very best part…of SLA are all of the incredibly intelligent, giving, energetic people.
Hal Kirkwood, Candidate – Director, SLA Board of Directors.
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