Members and friends of SLA Toronto,
Welcome to the fourth issue of The Courier for 2008. The end of the year approaches and the holidays will soon be here. On behalf of the Chapter and the Executive let me extend my best wishes to you, your families and friends as you enjoy your winter holidays together.
As President, I set three goals for myself this year:
- to increase the Chapter’s membership;
- to focus on the needs of students and new information professionals; and
- to continue our partnerships with non-library groups and associations.
As of July 2008 or membership hovers around 400 members – this is a mild increase from the total members we had when I became President in January 2008. SLA Toronto is fortunate to have a concentrated group of dedicated information professionals in the GTA (and beyond) and despite fluctuations in our membership numbers, SLA Toronto remains one of the largest and most vibrant Chapters in the Association.
When I first came to Toronto, I was welcomed by a small group of SLA members who encouraged me to get involved with the Chapter. How I got involved is a very easy story to tell, which is why I have continuously shared it with students and new information professionals in the hopes they will be inspired to take an active role in SLA.
One of the ways to get students involved in the Chapter is to make it as easy as possible for them to attend our meetings and to meet our members. The Student Sponsorship Fund was established this year to allow all students to attend SLA Toronto events for free. I am thrilled to report that the Chapter hosted 26 students at our events during the first half of the year. That’s an average of four students per meeting. And we are looking forward to hosting many more students as the year wraps up. So far, there has been a tremendous response from the students who have attended our meetings; many of them had no idea what a special library was, but can now see themselves taking that path after graduation.
One of my goals, to continue our partnerships with non-library groups and associations, didn’t work out quite as I had planned. It was difficult to find a non-library group who not only understood what we do, but was also interested in finding common ground to come together. Many professionals outside of the library world do not have a clear understanding of the value that we bring to our organizations and it can be difficult to explain that value to them in language they understand. This is one of the main reasons I am very excited about SLA’s realignment project.
In partnership with Fleishman-Hillard, Andy Hines of Social Technologies, and Outsell Inc., SLA has begun a thorough examination to bring clarity and unity to the core identity and values of the Association and the profession. This project will not only help refine our current positioning in the marketplace, but provide a framework for discussing the inherent value in the profession and the Association in a clear, compelling and cohesive voice.
The results of this project will provide the Chapter with an excellent platform for developing relationships with professionals outside of the library community in the future.
As this is my last letter as President, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has made this year a success. To the members of the Executive and Advisory Boards, I want to thank you for giving of your time and energy to provide the Chapter with excellent programming and opportunities to meet and interact with one another – be it virtually or in the real world. To you, the member, I want to thank you for being a member of this great association and for supporting us this year in our efforts to provide you with the best possible member experience at the local level.