The rapid evolution of the information industry, along with input from SLA members, has spurred the SLA Board of Directors to develop an updated strategic vision for SLA. This vision will serve as a roadmap for our association between now and 2014 to provide the best career-enhancing benefits to our 9,000-plus members worldwide.
The strategic vision reflects the fact that SLA Board members listened to a lot of member input. Given the diversity of SLA’s membership (academic, corporate, self-employed, etc.), we expect every SLA member to find some aspects exciting…and other aspects less so. The strategic vision is a high level summation of bold goals, and we know boldness carries risk. But we want to be bold, and we want your participation to follow the input you provided. The specifics of implementing the vision will depend entirely on member engagement, and details will vary among each chapters and division.
We invite you to read the strategic vision with care, and then consider where you wish to put your efforts. Members are the drivers for success in reaching the vision’s elements; where do you fit so that your volunteer contribution will generate the greatest benefit for your SLA unit and for yourself?
Your avenues for responding include the Future Ready 365 blog (today and during the first week of December), your chapter, your division, any special interest group (example: First 5 Years), the Board, and your personal professional network within SLA. To facilitate idea-sharing, members of the Board will be hosting a Future Ready blog post detailing each focus area, and will be responding to members’ comments and ideas beginning November 28th through December 2nd.
SLA leaders look forward to hearing from you. Send an email to your chapter president or division chair, comment on the 365 blog right now, or call a board member. We are here for you!
We’re pleased to unveil this updated strategic vision—a plan that is at once ambitious and realistic:
SLA is a vibrant, global association of professionals who are employed in every sector of the information and knowledge economy. Our members thrive where data, information, and knowledge intersect and our strategic partners support SLA because they believe in the association’s mission and the future of its members. The goal of SLA is to support information professionals as they contribute, in their varied and evolving roles, to the opportunities and achievements of organizations, communities, and society.
Key Areas of Focus:
To supplement the strategic vision, priorities have been identified to guide the association’s leaders, volunteers, and staff toward fulfillment. Focus areas include:
Annual Conference: SLA’s chief member-benefit is its highest priority. We will increase collaboration across SLA’s divisions to provide more focused, refined content. This collaboration will leverage our professional experience and institutional knowledge to ensure increased relevance of programming for SLA’s conference attendees. While increasing specificity of topics is key, focus will also be placed on broadening opportunities for learning (November 28th blog post by Mary Ellen Bates, Division Cabinet Chair).
Professional Development: SLA’s value to its membership will be enhanced not only through improved in-person development offerings, but in combination with a year-round, virtual education program. We will define a new approach to providing reliable and useful professional development programming, comprising virtual opportunities throughout the year, and partnerships with schools of library and information science to co-develop content, communications, and delivery of educational programs (November 29th blog post by Sara Tompson, Director).
Creating Richer Volunteer Experiences to Develop In-Demand Skills: A fulfilled association-vision will depend heavily upon SLA’s volunteer-force—the network that gives the association its strength and relevance. What better incentive to become active in the association than the fact that it will benefit your career down the road? New skills picked up as volunteers in our chapters and divisions may just be the stepping stones to a promotion or achievement at work. Added focus will be placed on creating richer volunteer experiences in the areas of web development (search engine optimization, plug-in development and research), marketing (developing a marketing plan for local events and programs), program management (overseeing budgets, fund raising with local vendor communities), and more. SLA’s volunteers will be powerfully well-rounded in the years to come (November 30th blog post by Daniel Lee, Director).
Opening New Markets Through Collaboration: A bright future for SLA depends on collaboration with key partners within the information industry. We will strive toward an increase in opportunities available to SLA’s membership through affiliation with schools of library and information science and the vendors who provide products and services that empower SLA members (December 1st blog post by Brent Mai, President-Elect).
Growth Through Diversification: The information profession is evolving faster than ever, thanks to the rapid rate of technological change and innovation. In this evolution lies opportunity to grow SLA’s offerings to new and nontraditional sectors of the information profession, and to enhance SLA as a professional home for these groups—e.g. competitive intelligence specialists, IT development specialists, and software and standards trainers (December 2nd blog post by Richard Huffine, Division Cabinet Chair-Elect).
Envisioning a Bright Future:
The focus areas described above are highlights of our plan to fulfill a prosperous vision for the future. It goes without saying that each area of focus is inter-woven—each one depends on the other. As always, the value here lies in the opportunity to network, to try on something new, to step out of our comfort zones, and to achieve more than ever before. The Board of Directors encourages members to discuss ways in which they may participate and contribute to making the vision a reality. I am confident that as I pass the torch to incoming President Brent Mai and President-Elect Deb Hunt that the strength of the association’s volunteer force and staff will put us in a position that is both stable and pioneering within the information industry.
Here’s to success in 2012 and beyond!
2011 SLA President,
Cindy Romaine is the current SLA President and is focused on encouraging members to be Future Ready 24/7 in 2011.