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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

Posted in SLA BlogComments Off on SLA Rebukes North Carolina LGBT Law

SLA Pooled Resources Initiative

SLA members have skills and expertise in a variety of areas, and traditionally you have shared them liberally–in conference sessions, unit Webinars, Information Outlook articles, and so on. Now you can maximize your impact by contributing to a pool of educational content that will benefit current and future SLA members.

The SLA Pooled Resources Initiative (PRI), which was announced on December 4 in an e-mail message to all SLA members, is soliciting proposals for creating and delivering educational content. Since that e-mail was sent, several members have asked questions about the request for proposals. This message will attempt to address some of the issues that have been raised.

  • Can I charge a fee for my work? The RFP stipulates that proposers should indicate their fee (if any) for creating and delivering the content and any updates. Proposers are invited to consider other means of payment, such as exchanging content for recognition or visibility (as negotiated). Business partners may wish to sponsor the development of content by underwriting developers’ fees or by delivering content directly.
  • Must the proposed content be new? No, we are soliciting both new content as well as existing content from units whose members may already have created successful programs. Such content deserves wider distribution to all SLA members.
  • Developing a quality Webinar, conference session, or course program requires extensive expertise. Why should I give away information and skills that have taken me years to acquire and perfect? All too often, good educational content is delivered once to a limited audience, then lost after delivery only to be re-invented by others later. With the PRI, we are attempting to harness the talent and creativity of members into a more organized process that will allow the content to become part of an educational pool for re-use. This will maximize the return on investment for everyone who contributes and reduce the inefficiency inherent in multiple units developing the same program.

Bottom line: It’s all about value for you and your fellow SLA members. Leveraging the collective expertise and innovation of SLA members will result in a growing pool of quality content for every SLA member to access over time. Think about it: Don’t you have a session or Webinar in you–one that could benefit SLA members and look good on your résumé as well?

Proposals and additional questions about the Pooled Resources Initiative should be submitted to SLA Board Member Juliane Schneider at


Tom Rink
2016 SLA President

Posted in Competencies, Keeping Current, LeadershipComments Off on SLA Pooled Resources Initiative

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

Posted in SLA BlogComments Off on SLA chooses MCI USA as AMC


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