Howdy from the beautiful Rocky Mountains! The Rocky Mountain chapter of SLA is thrilled to contribute this week’s FutureReady365 posts. We are a small, diverse community of 150+ members spread across a four-state region (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota). We have a medley of posts from public school, government, higher education and independent professionals that we hope will prompt conversations, comments and thoughts on being future ready. Happy reading!
by Connie Clem, Rocky Mountain Chapter, Government Information and Information Technology Divisions
SLA types tend to be people people as well as info and tech people. And that’s a source of our future power and alliances.
When I joined SLA a decade or two back, the library director who brought me on board mentioned that SLA conference attendees were known to drink more per capita than people at any other conference. (Note: neither SLA nor information work promotes or leads to excessive alcohol use.) My way of understanding this phenomenon was to frame it against certain traditions in the library field. Who had been the “typical” librarian? A woman. A career woman who went out and made her way in the world of employment and business, even in times when that wasn’t the norm. This woman was independent, gutsy, self-led, and self-taught and she delivered the goods for her clients. She was a pioneer by definition. Naturally she would value getting together with like minds to celebrate achievements (over a glass perhaps) and absorb new ideas for the next challenge.
Her tribe of men and women love the thrill of the hunt for information; the thrill of creating order, meaning, and message; the thrill of delivering the solution. They are in information work because they love it. Their joie de vivre causes those glasses to be raised. We know this is the place to be—where information intersects with the user experience and customer focus and technology to create progress.
And this is where our power and partnerships lie. The people who live in a narrowly tech-defined space need us to humanize and dimensionalize what they do, and to build a bridge from Planet Code and Planet Data to this world, where people scan for information, grab it and run with it, and put information to use.
SLA types speak the language of data technology, the language of info seeking behavior, and the languages of our clients—users of specialized information in specialized work and business environments. We invented metadata to provide access to information in the narrowest and the most cross-disciplinary professional niches imaginable. We have been about access and findability since Day 1. We recognize techies as our allies. They are welcome to join with us and enrich our tribe and our association and both tap into and help expand the future-power of the information professional. May we raise toasts to each other, figuratively or tangibly, in an aligned and mutually beneficial future.
Connie Clem is lead writer, researcher, communication designer, and bottle-washer at Clem Information Strategies (http://cleminfostrategies.com), where she creates change through information for nonprofit and government clients. She is the author of Government Online (http://bit.ly/GovernmentOnline) and active in AIIP as well as a Director in the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SLA (http://rockymountain.sla.org). Follow her on Twitter @ConnieInfo.