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SLA Rebukes North Carolina LGBT Law

Global organization reconsiders planned conference for 3,000 scheduled for 2018

McLean, Virginia, 4 April 2016–A controversial bill that limits local governments in passing antidiscrimination laws affecting LGBT people has caused the Special Libraries Association (SLA) to reconsider hosting its 2018 conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The bill–announced, passed, and signed by North Carolina’s legislative body and Gov. Pat McCrory during a single-day emergency legislative session last week–was timed to take effect before an anti-discrimination measure in the state’s largest city, Charlotte, could. The measure would have allowed transgender people to use restrooms that matched their gender identity.

SLA Board Chair Tom Rink stated, “SLA stands strongly in support of diversity and inclusion practices in both privately-held libraries and companies as well as in the various municipalities and states in which special libraries operate. We are deeply opposed to any laws that permit or even give the appearance of tolerating discrimination.” Rink added, “These types of laws create an unwelcome environment for meeting and convention attendees, and SLA is reviewing its options.”

The Special Libraries Association annually convenes more than 3,000 librarians, information professionals and industry partners to create connections, share best practices and celebrate professional and industry accomplishments. SLA convened its annual meeting in Boston in 2015, and will meet in Philadelphia in 2016, and Phoenix in 2017.

About SLA
The Special Libraries Association is a nonprofit international organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners. SLA serves information professionals in more than 60 countries and in a range of working environments, including business, academia and government agencies. SLA promotes and strengthens its members through learning, advocacy and networking initiatives. For more information, visit

Kate O’Donnell, CAE

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SLA chooses MCI USA as AMC

Fellow SLA Members,

Last month, 2015 SLA President Jill Strand and I shared a message with you about continuity–continuity of purpose, direction, and resolve. In that message, we noted that SLA had made many critical decisions in 2015 to position ourselves for the future. Now, in 2016, we need to continue the hard but necessary work of translating these decisions into action and ensuring that SLA will continue to be a vibrant home for the special librarian community.

Among the decisions the board made last year was to engage an association management company (AMC) to lead staff and support operations at SLA headquarters. I am pleased to report that your SLA Board of Directors has reached an agreement with MCI USA (formerly Coulter), a leading association management company based in Northern Virginia, to assume staff leadership and management duties effective March 1.

Although transitioning to an AMC may seem disruptive at a time when we are finalizing our conference arrangements, laying the foundation for our Pooled Resources Initiative, and preparing to roll out our new online community, SLA Connect, it will actually ensure that you will continue to receive the services you expect and deserve. Calls to SLA will use the same phone number, and beginning March 1 will be answered by a live voice, not an automated phone attendant. E-mail addresses will remain the same as well, as will the URL for the SLA Website.

In short, your day-to-day member experience will not change.
What will change is that we will be able to draw on MCI USA’s pool of talented support staff and apply their specialized skills to areas needing targeted support. These skills will be especially helpful as we implement the Road Map for SLA’s Future, which the board approved last year. MCI USA leaders have “mapped” the goals and objectives of the Road Map into four strategic priority areas–engagement, knowledge management, partnerships, and success–and developed a staffing structure to support these areas. This staffing structure combines the experience of three current SLA employees with the expertise of MCI USA specialists to create a team of association professionals dedicated to strengthening SLA and its member benefits and services.

To lead this team, MCI USA is currently conducting a search for a new executive director of SLA. In the interim, Erin Fuller, MCI USA’s president of Association Management & Consulting and a certified association executive, will serve as SLA’s transition executive, beginning March 1. Erin has assured me and the board of directors that MCI USA will not just maintain but enhance the level of service that SLA members receive, and we are confident that she and her team will deliver on this commitment.
This does not mean that the transition will be entirely seamless. Our overarching goal in engaging an association management company was to ensure we have the skills and resources needed to implement the decisions we made last year and will continue to make as we go forward. In assessing our skills needs, we identified some roles where current SLA staff would fit well; other roles were deemed a better fit for MCI USA specialists. This means we are saying goodbye to some longtime SLA staff, and we thank them for their years of service and wish them well.
The attached chart shows the topline transitional staffing structure being put in place to serve SLA, and we look forward to introducing you to the entire team at the 2016 conference in Philadelphia. I hope you will join me in welcoming our new MCI USA partners as they begin helping us create new opportunities for special librarians to learn, mentor, collaborate, and lead.
Tom Rink
2016 SLA President

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Networking: A Skill, Not a Personality Trait

Want to land a better job, get more professional recognition, and earn more money? It’s largely a matter of who you know—and who knows you.

According to Ronald Burt, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and an expert on network science, being in an open network—that is, continually meeting new people and exposing yourself to new ideas—is a leading predictor of career success. People with better networks, in other words, receive higher performance ratings, higher compensation, and better job opportunities.

SLA member Leslie Howerton-Hicks learned this lesson firsthand after being laid off from a public library due to budget cuts. A staffer at a large athletic apparel company—someone she knew from her networking activities—told her of an opening at the company. The job was not labeled a library position, so it was not advertised on any library job sites. She applied for the position, and her contact talked to the hiring manager before Leslie interviewed. The result: Leslie was hired as the footwear materials librarian, a position that aligns well with her professional goals.

Leslie recounts this experience in “Network Like Nobody’s Watching: Demystifying Networking as a Skill for the Librarian and Information Professional Community,” a contributed paper she co-wrote with Tracy Z. Maleeff, the library resources manager at Duane Morris LLP in Philadelphia. The paper was judged the best of the 12 contributed papers presented at the SLA 2015 Annual Conference, earning Leslie and Tracy free registration to the SLA 2016 Annual Conference.

“Networking is the most important weapon in your career arsenal, no matter what stage of professional development you are in,” the paper states. “… It is a skill that can be particularly difficult for information professionals to master. Too often, the label of ‘introvert’ will be used as an excuse as to why someone hasn’t mastered this skill. In this paper, the important of networking as a skill, not a by-product of a personality trait, will be discussed.”

To read this or any of the other 2015 contributed papers, click here. To learn more about contributed papers, click here.

The post Networking: A Skill, Not a Personality Trait appeared first on Special Libraries Association.

Source: SLA Blog

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