Last week I went on down to Dallas to attend the SLA Leadership Summit. It was a pretty packed couple of days where most of the SLA Board of Directors and unit leaders met to discuss the organization and inspire us to roll up our sleeves and get some work done. I enjoyed reading the recollections of Chris Zammarelli and Aileen Marshall and you should check them out. Despite all of us being in the same odd-shaped room (or even at the same table in the back corner), we all have our different take-aways.
One of the big differences form this year’s Leadership Summit is that they really seemed to listen. Parts of the presentations and discussions really seemed to be a kind of reconciliation after Alignment and some other issues. The Board was open and listening, and it felt great.
The thing that has stuck with me since my return home, and I’m still ruminating about right now has to do with the relative size and strength of units. This year I’m chair of the Transportation Division – one of the smallest divisions. A lot of the discussion about successful units focuses on chapters and divisions that are quickly growing or ones that have a larger base to pull from. While there definitely is room for our division to grow, it’s limited by our scope. Let’s face it – there aren’t a bunch of transportation librarians floating out there who aren’t already members of the division. Somebody, maybe Zamarelli or maybe it was Tom Nielsen from Solos, talked about the different tiers of units, and that instead of every unit trying to be the biggest and best in some abstract ideal, we should be the best we can be for what’s our right level. It’s common sense. The hard part will be figuring out what that means for us, which unfortunately nobody’s really got the answer for at this time. That’s what this year will be about though.
And… something else Zammarelli mentioned – starting the *ahem* World Football Caucus. What’s that? Well… there’s already the Baseball Caucus, because librarians love baseball. (I’m a member!) This year we’ll be petitioning for the World Football (read in the US: Soccer) Caucus so we’ll be ready to kick it off with the 2014 World Cup. We still have to get the paperwork in order, but it’s coming soon!