James King, Washington DC & Maryland Chapters, Government Information & Information Technology Divisions
Technology is a double-edged sword, helping us to extend our reach and making our association, division, and chapter operations easier but also enables individuals to network with peers around the world from the comfort of their chair or through their virtual avatars, without the need for an association membership. We must provide tools to regularly connect with and support our membership throughout the year, including the nearly 7,000 members who are not able to attend the annual conference each year, as well as the front line and support staff who do the real work in libraries and information centers. We must boldly yet intelligently move the association and its members into the digital future ahead of us, carefully applying the wisdom of the past to make the best use of tools now available. Tools, however, are useless without incredible librarians and staff powered with competencies for the future to provide the human face to our increasingly digital services.
I believe that it is critical for us to ‘raise all boats’ — to strategically move the entire SLA membership to a new level — within the profession by providing learning opportunities and lessons learned as we adapt the wisdom of the past to this digital age. We must be willing to challenge the status quo in our profession to ensure that our members and organizations remain vibrant and relevant in these changing times, rather than waiting for the visible outcome of an under-valued library — closure. We must also collect and endorse best practices in the development of cutting edge libraries that meet and exceed the needs of our communities, especially as we address the wave of library centralization that is sweeping through our membership, as exemplified by recent efforts in corporate and government libraries.
James King is the 2010 President of the Washington, DC Chapter and long-time convener of the Information Futurists Caucus. He is currently serving at the national level as an Alignment Ambassador, member of the Nominating Committee, and is on the 2011 Annual Conference Planning Council.