One aspect of the new SLA Strategic Vision asks everyone in our Association to think more broadly about who could value from having SLA as their professional home. The specific language from the strategic vision is:
“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.”
I’m sure we all find ourselves working more and more with professionals in allied fields – computer specialists, research analysts, brand managers, etc. Many of us are also probably working in these fields, taking our skills and knowledge and applying them in very different ways than what we had thought we would when we were in school. I personally have been an “Internet Librarian” and a “Web Analytics Manager” as well as an “Information Resources Specialist” and finally in my current position as a “Librarian.” Throughout my career I have worked with a large number of professionals in the information arena that would have benefited greatly from having a professional home like SLA.
The reality is that while many SLA members share a similar career path, there are a lot of people working today with data, information, and knowledge that could benefit from the networking, professional development, and connections they should make within SLA. SLA members can also benefit from the participation of these groups as well.
There are plenty of organizations that cater to one niche or another but SLA is unique in the diversity that exists within our Association already. How can we market what we have to new and growing sectors of the information marketplace? Are there opportunities for collaboration across Chapters and Divisions that could draw even more of these non-traditional information professionals into SLA? Can we give them a professional home where they can grow and help us grow so that we can meet the challenges in front of us today and in the future? I think so.
The SLA Board of Directors – and specifically your Division and Chapter Cabinet leaders – want to hear from you about how SLA can diversify and grow. You can comment on this post, reach out to a Board member, write your own blog post or just initiate a dialogue between the members of the SLA units in which you are active. We have an opportunity to broaden our impact and share our experience and the Association wants you to be part of this effort.
Richard Huffine is SLA’s Division Cabinet Chair for 2012.