Today is first day of voting much anticipated SLA name change. Have you voted yet? Polls close December 9 and the results will be announced on December 10.
I blogged my initial thoughts on “Association of Knowledge Professionals” a month ago when it was announced. SLA leadership has since abandoned the ASKPro branding because, well, it’s a little embarrassing. (Lots of people pointed out the acoustic similarities between ASKPro and ASSPro. It was a distraction?)
So what has happened in a month? Not much. People have been very passionate on both sides. The recurring theme within the “Yes” camp has been that we need to modernize/innovate/change to stay relevant. I don’t think anybody can really disagree with that, though I’m still not convinced that ASKP is they way to do it. Sure, SLA is 100 years old and considered by some to be stale, but honestly I imagine ASKP to sound just as stale (or silly) in another 5 years when a new set of buzz words take the corporate world’s fancy.
I also find it interesting and somewhat troubling that there hasn’t been any official commentary from SLA about why people might vote no. They want us to exercise our rights as members, but the official SLA blog has only had a number of posts by respected SLA leaders about why we have to vote yes. There is one post, by John J. DiGilio, aka iBraryGuy, about his issues with the new name, focusing on the importance of the organization. Today he wrote that he voted Yes out of optimism and hope. I agree with a lot of what he has to say, but not his final decision. If the SLA Board is supposed to be there to enact the will of membership, then the discussion should reflect the attitudes of the members. I don’t think that’s been the case, but I also might be naive in assuming the board is there for the members.
I can’t vote Yes. I would like to. I credit the writings of SLA Leadership for making me feel somewhat guilty for not liking the new name, but in my mind I still think the Association of Knowledge Professionals is not a good option. I wish the engagement with membership was greater and started sooner. I know they have lots of research, but at the end of it, I still think membership was left out until the end. We we left out of the process and the discussion. If I had 18 months to think on the Alignment, I would probably be much more comfortable with the name. Why did they wait until October to really start member participation? I know Divisions and Chapters had their Alignment Ambassadors, but very little came out until the very end. Time to communicate and share ideas would have been appreciated, though perhaps something of a quagmire. I agree with many that the research is invaluable and will really help the organization and the profession. It’s a shame that they haven’t used the research to foster more participation and communication with the membership
So, with a heavy heart I voted No. I urge everybody to vote as they feel they should. Hopefully people who vote Yes won’t think of me as backwards for not liking the name. If the name change passes I will continue to be a member of SLA or ASKP. The organization has been too valuable to me and I think it would be short-sighted to leave. Either way, I hope the Alignment process and research will lay the foundation for a dialog of members about what we’re doing and how we fit within the organizations and the organizations we work for. That is important regardless of what we call ourselves.