I have just from the annual SLA conference which this year was in Seattle. It was strange returning to the city of my very first SLA event ten years ago. Then I was very green information professional and spent most of the four days trying to get my head around the complexities SLA, the conference and cultural differences between the UK and the USA.
This time I was there to fulfil my commitments as co-convener of the Fellows annual meeting, the First Timers Event and to Chair the Public Policy Advisory Council. Since being made a fellow of the SLA in Baltimore in 2006 I was expecting to be required to continue to contribute to the association.
I was more than happy to be involved with the First Timers Event which is held at the beginning of the five days of conference. I passionately believe in encouraging and supporting new entrants into the information profession. So helping to explain how to get the best out of the conference and to enable networking, as well as the opportunity to find mentors is a job I was happy to do.
The loud buzz in the room from the 300 or so who turned up to the meeting indicated they were more than ready to network with their fellow information professionals.
Chairing the Public Policy Advisory Council gave me great opportunity to be involved with SLA’s effective efforts during 2007 and 2008 to campaign against library closures in the US Government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as a host of other activities. In the case of the EPA libraries, SLA in the form of Doug Newcomb (Chief Policy Officer) and Janice Lachance (SLA CEO) had been in the vanguard of the move to prevent the closures without due consideration and discussion.