Posted on February 16, 2011.
by Judy Anderson, Oregon Chapter, Academic Division
What keeps you coming to SLA? Is it because you are making things happen that benefit you and those you know? Is it meeting new people and making contacts? Supporting a strong volunteer campaign and program can bring that enthusiasm and interest to others, too. One of the saddest comments is, “I would like to get involved but don’t know how.” Or even sadder, “I said I’d like to be volunteer but no one got back to me.” Making getting involved easier may spark new life into our Chapters. Volunteers bring fresh ideas and positive energy that can’t be beat.
A few thoughts to keep in mind when working with volunteers:
- Match their interests and opportunities for career growth (something to add to their resumes as a skill) with things your organization needs done; busy work is not helpful for anyone.
- Support their enthusiasm and fresh ideas…try new things. If they work, that’s fantastic; if not, you know now that they don’t work and can move to something else. Both experiences are valuable.
- Choose projects that are needed but not mission critical or time sensitive to get them started.
- Break the project into small segments that are easily managed and have an end point so it’s readily apparent that progress has been made and there is a finished product to be proud of.
- Figure out the type of recognition needed for that person…verbal praise? Recognition at a meeting? A plaque? A thank you letter to their employer? How are you going to thank them in a way meaningful to them?
Like many of you, Oregon added a volunteer coordinator position to our Board. Not only does it provide a volunteer opportunity, but it’s helping us reach our members to let them know how they can take a more active role in the organization and is keeping track of their areas of interest so we can match projects with volunteers. After all, we’re all volunteers, so think about why you’re enjoying our association and work to bring that life and joy to others in the membership and beyond.
Judy Anderson is the current Past-President of SLA’s Oregon Chapter. She is the Head of Reference & Instruction at Concordia University-Portland, Oregon.
Posted in 365
Posted on February 14, 2011.
by Berika Williams, PR Chair 2011, IT Division/Web Services Librarian, UH-Victoria
I love this profession and I’m completely fulfilled in the work that I do. As information professionals, we adapt to emerging technologies surrounding the access to information we provide. As a result this poses fresh opportunities to organize, manage, represent, and access it.
I believe that being Future Ready is about knowing where your values lie and having goals, dreams, and pursuits that support them. I value the work that I do, time spent with family, friends, colleagues, giving back to the community, and being open to new skill sets and technologies. I am learning to say “no” to commitments, things, and even people that pull me away from my vision.
I am Future Ready at my job and beyond the office by being under the mentorship of those more experienced and absorbing as much training, knowledge, professional development (and interpersonal) skills to be truly successful as a newbie librarian. The greatest part is that this development is continuous and built on life-long learning.
We are service oriented, but we also enhance the goals and missions of organizations by providing consultation in being more efficient in information management. Many of us sit on the brink of technological developments and create new tools and systems that meet a variety of information needs. The versatility of our knowledge base provides immense value. This is why I love this profession.
Berika Williams is the web services librarian at the Victoria College/ University of Houston-Victoria Library. She is currently the PR chair for the Information Technology Division of SLA.
Posted in 365
Posted on February 6, 2011.
by Kim Dority, Rocky Mountain Chapter, Business & Finance Division
The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Alan Kay
Almost anyone who’s talked with Cindy Romaine about the Future Ready initiative will end up wanting to take that energy and strategic thinking to the next level: what is one thing that each of us can or will do in the coming year to help our careers – and the profession – become future ready?
Thinking about that question, I’ve realized that for me and possibly for many others in the information profession, the answer lies not in preparing for what the future may look like, but rather in going on the offensive to create the future we want.
How to do that? Well, some things we know already:
- Technology will continuously change what we do and how we do it
- Companies – if not entire industries – that once seemed paragons of stability will contract if not disappear
- Other companies – and industries – will spring up to take their place
- For both information professionals and those we work with, there will be innumerable threats and opportunities and often they will be one and the same, depending on what we look for and how we frame them
- Information will continue to be a critical part of decision-making for individuals, companies, communities, and nations – but will undoubtedly be aggregated/formatted/delivered in ways barely imaginable today
Knowing these things, how might we go about creating our own futures? I tend to believe Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter was on to something when he said that entrepreneurism brings about a wave of creative destruction that, as it destroys established ways of doing things, simultaneously opens up new opportunities for innovation and fresh solutions. The challenge: being on the right side of that wave…in other words, creating the future we want to have.
In an attempt to stay ahead of that cresting wave, and thus create my own professional future, some of the things I’ll be doing are:
- Systematically monitoring the industries of existing clients to identify anomalies that may evolve into emerging growth trends – or contracting lines of business – so I can respond strategically
- Checking out all “innovation” award winners in various categories such as those offered by Fast Company, Mashable.com, and Inc. magazine with an eye toward unusual ideas that could signal growth opportunities (who knew the “casual learning” industry was now a $9 billion/year powerhouse?!)
- Practicing identifying the hidden opportunity in every perceived “threat” situation
- Continually rethinking how I can create and/or provide information that offers high-impact value, knowing that my ability to do so will determine my continued professional viability
Bottom line: perhaps our best approach to being Future Ready is to start actively creating the future we want today.
Kim Dority is the founder of Dority & Associates, Inc., an information consultancy with expertise in research, writing, editing, information process design, and publishing. Ms. Dority is on the advisory board of the University of Denver’s Library and Information Science graduate program, where she also teaches as adjunct faculty. She is the author of numerous articles and several books on information, Rethinking Information Work (Libraries Unlimited, 2006).
Posted in 365
Posted on January 27, 2011.
by Paul Henriques, Washington DC Chapter, Government Information Divison
Information professionals by nature work in a dynamic field full of change. This fact is nothing new. However, I don’t believe anything might have prepared me for being laid off twice from two different organizations in one year. While some might look at this negatively, I am viewing this as an opportunity.
I recognized the previous organizations I worked for provided little opportunity for professional development due to financial constraints. I would have appreciated greater support to attend SLA conferences or study towards certificates. Along with the usual job applications and networking amongst peers by submitting referral applications to organizations, I am spending my time productively, for example, learning new databases where I can and perfecting my foreign language skills.
A break in ones career must be treated as a chance to increase your value for your next employer. Along with educating myself further, I made a conscious decision to obtain citizenship in the European Union, which was an option open to me through my heritage. While some may say that times are tough in Europe, economic problems are present in almost every corner of the world. Enabling myself to work in 27 other countries is an ability that can only help my career going forward. I am also not limiting myself to specific regions in the United States, however, living in Washington, D.C. affords a lot of opportunities for employment.
Posted in 365