Conference Reflections and Projections

Tonight I read Tara Murray’s post The After Conference, which suggests ways to continue some of the threads of discussion and follow the ideas of the conference. She also gives a nod to the wonderful Eileen Boswell, the Embedded Librarian.

This has been a weird day for me because I’m still mentally processing and thinking about SLA Leadership, but also getting thrown into the TRB Annual Meeting. Two conferences, back to back, focusing on two very different aspects of my professional life. This past week I was energized and excited through connecting with my fellow information professionals, coming up with lots of ideas to help the transportation community and other people to partner with. I also thought about ways we could work together to improve the profession.

Now though I need to figure out how to remember SLA but really focus on TRB. Hopefully this will help:

  • We need to engage our participants and foster a culture where people actually want to volunteer! This isn’t really SLA specific, but it’s really important at this time. What do the members want? What can we do to make them value it and be willing to dedicate their time and effort?
  • Volunteerism. This is an extension of the first point. If people don’t value the association, they won’t commit to it – not in time, energy, effort, money. The members need to see that it’s a two-way street, but feel that it is as well. Communication will enable this to happen.
  • Not everybody wants to lead, but people like to be needed. We need to engage members on the level that they are most comfortable (and probably most effective). Too often people are put in leadership positions because it seems like a good idea since they’re dedicated, regardless of whether or not they are leaders. There’s no shame in not being top banana, and we should encourage people to start small instead of throwing them in the deep end.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I have an early meeting tomorrow and I need my cranky sleep.

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