by Deb Hunt, 2012 SLA President-Elect
I often hear my colleagues discuss how SLA or other professional associations need to do more for members. What I don’t hear so much is how we can do more for ourselves. There are opportunities to learn and expand our skillset and value through SLA, but we need to expend the effort and funds to take advantage of them. As a candidate for SLA President-Elect, I talked to members all over the world. Many are rightly concerned that jobs are going away and that we often feel like we are on a downward path. But, what I also hear are excuses:
- I don’t attend the annual conference, CE courses, local meetings, etc. because my company no longer pays my way;
- I’m unemployed and cannot afford to attend events;
- I don’t have time to develop new skills;
- I cannot do professional development while at work due to firewall issues.
My response is that we cannot afford NOT to attend events and continue learning. If we don’t invest in ourselves, who will? This past year, I invested a substantial sum of money to attend a virtual online course to earn a certification in enterprise content management, an area of work that I’ve moved into over the past few years. Did a client or employer require me to earn this certificate? No, but I recognized that it gave me more credibility with potential clients and was well worth the time, effort and money.
Over my many years in the information profession, I’ve seen us move into areas of work that didn’t even appear on the radar back when I was in graduate school. If we continue to be future ready and agile, we can expand into other careers where there are jobs, money and opportunity. As I’ve added services to my own business, Information Edge, beyond more traditional areas of research and value-added analysis and library design and automation, I’ve leapt off the edge into expanding areas of opportunity. I’ve moved into document and enterprise content management, building on my info pro skillset, always learning, always on the lookout for new opportunities. There is a whole world out there that needs our skills and expertise, but we must be willing to take the leap, ever-learning, ever investing in ourselves and branding what we do as a valuable asset to any organization.
Deb Hunt is Principal of Information Edge which empowers clients to find the information they need to do their work. Information Edge specializes in enterprise content management, knowledge services, professional research, and library design and automation.
Deb has been a member of SLA since 1986 and SLA’s 2012 President-Elect. She served on the SLA Board as a Director from 2008-2010 and is the creator and team leader of SLA’s 23 Things, for which she received the SLA Presidential Award. She is a past President of the San Francisco Bay Region Chapter and a member of the Silicon Valley chapter and the Library Management, KM, and IT divisions. She is an active member in the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP) and served on its Board of Directors from 2001-2003.