Candidates for the SLA Board of Directors will be asked to answer questions on the SLA Blog until election time. My response to Question 3 has been published, along with those of my fellow candidates. I’m copying it below.
Question 3: How has involvement with SLA over the years helped you grow professionally and personally?
At this point in my career, I’m the director of an academic library. There is no doubt my involvement in SLA helped my advancement in my field. What I learned in SLA translated directly to my professional life.
What skills and attitudes did I develop through SLA?
- quick decision analysis
- vision development
- strategic planning
- robust communication skills
- meetings and events management
- agenda development
- argument and persuasion techniques
- talk with and present to large groups of people
- professional mentorship of future leaders
- work with new technology
- sponsor development
- minutes taking
- professional publication writing
All in all, SLA helped me gain confidence in my skills and capabilities.
Through SLA I learned about advancements and trends in our profession through attending the conference and rubbing elbows with my peers. Chance meetings often led to professional sharing and techniques that I could take back to my work environment.
From time to time, I hear academic librarians report their supervisor doesn’t consider SLA a “valid” professional association. That their activity in SLA could not count as “service” for the promotion and tenure process. Usually it is because it isn’t their supervisor’s own association. That saddens me.
As an administrator, I’d rather bring a diversity of experience and viewpoints to the table. Where better than SLA then, with our mix of work environments and international vision? When my personnel gets involved in a professional association, serve on a committee, or develops a presentation, I know their work improves our library. When I learn of a new SLA member wants to become involved in a unit, I know it will make our association progress.
I know that their work with SLA will help us in the short and, hopefully long term, but the greatest growth will be their own.
I know that because it happened to me and to so many people I’ve met at SLA.
By serving the association it turns out I was also serving myself. Plus serving is also a way of giving back for what I have received. That’s why I’m running for the SLA Board of Directors.