Future-Ready Means Being Present
As I write this letter, I am 30,000 feet somewhere above the Canadian Prairies, on my way to visit some colleagues and friends at libraries in British Columbia. I spend approximately 50% of my time on the road, and I absolutely love it. I especially love flying. True, there are parts of it I don’t love, like delays (I’m an ENTJ) and turbulence (I’m a big chicken) and the logic-defying world of airport security (See: ENTJ). But I do love the block of uninterrupted time that air travel affords me. Up in the air, I can live in the moment and turn my attention to planning and thinking. Although I fly Economy class, the bubble of space between my office and a library visit created by a transcontinental flight is positively luxurious.
Last fall, I used that space to think about our Chapter and our Association. SLA President Cindy Romaine’s theme for 2011 is “Future-Ready” – and by the way, please check out the Future Ready 365 blog. There will be a new post every day; I’ve subscribed to the RSS feed so I don’t miss a single one.
I’d like to take this opportunity to share our Chapter’s future-ready 2011 goals with you:
- Strengthen existing partner relations and cultivate new relationships to ensure both the financial viability of the Chapter and the delivery of programming that is meaningful and relevant to our members. To this end, I have promoted the position of Partner Relations Chair, which was an Advisory Board role, to the Executive level, giving Partner Relations a seat at the table. Pam Casey is our 2011 Partner Relations Director. She heads up a committee consisting of two talented Toronto Chapter members, Robert Ambra and Eliana Trinastic.
The current social and economic climate is extremely challenging, both for information professionals and for our partners. Rapid change requires us to do more and be more, with fewer essential resources like time, money, and energy at our disposal. I believe that if we work together, we and our partners will be successful in accomplishing our goals.
- Enhance communication with our membership, prospective members, the Association, and our partners by using the functionality afforded by the refreshed Chapter website. This doesn’t mean that other communication channels like the Discussion List, The Courier and our social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are going away. Au contraire! Daniel Lee, a Past-President of the Chapter and 2009-2011 SLA Director, together with a dedicated project team including Toronto Chapter members Heather Ritchie, Britta Jessen, and the 2011 Technology Director Kim Silk, have worked very hard to convert our current website into its soon-to-be-launched, WordPress-powered self. Our new site will bring all of our resources and services together into one easy-to-use, flexible, and – if I have your permission to geek out a little – beautiful online home. In the meantime and afterward, I will continue to employ my well-honed librarian’s skills to facilitate the flow of information between our Chapter, other units in the Association, and what Ulla de Stricker, Cabinet Chair Elect in 2011, affectionately calls “Big SLA”, the Association itself.
- Continue to deliver programming that meets our members’ professional development and social needs, builds community, and fosters a culture of learning and knowledge-sharing. Our programming is really the heart of our Chapter. Our events create a space for our members to learn, to participate, to network, and also to socialize and have some fun. The joint holiday social with CASLIS, TALL and FIAA at the Hard Rock Café on November 30th was a big hit. Elysia Guzik is the 2011 Programming Director and she has just facilitated our first event of the year, Leveraging Social Media Tools for Knowledge Management, which took place over the lunch hour on January 31st at the offices of PwC.
Our goals for programming in 2011 includes introducing some new types of events. Watch this space for details! Also in 2011, we have a wonderful opportunity to connect with our colleagues both in Canada and from all over the world: the Toronto Chapter is hosting the Canadian Reception at the 2011 Conference, with our partner CEDROM-SNi.
Because I spend a significant amount of time away from Toronto, I will be unable to attend all of our Chapter events this year. This is a pity, because not only do I always have a wonderful time learning new thing and meeting members of our Chapter, but because it means I am less available to the membership. Last year, the Board had a frank conversation about our own attendance at Chapter events. We don’t have an office where you can drop in and talk to us. We don’t have office hours. Effectively, the only scheduled time when the membership can interact with us is at a Chapter event.
My current role with YBP provides me with an excellent opportunity to create my own “office hours”. True, I am on the road 50% of the time. But the other 50% of the time, I’m here in Toronto, working from my home. So, I’m extending an invitation to you: if you have a question or a concern about SLA or if you just want to talk shop for awhile, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s make plans to meet over coffee some afternoon.
This is your Chapter: let’s talk.