Well I’m back from SLA 2015, kind of caught up on sleep, and detoxed by going to the Alameda County fair and fairing it up. (Air brushed shirt? Check. Brick of curly fries? Check. Tigers Blood snow cone? Check. Tour the collections? Check. Also if you don’t understand why I’d get a shirt saying “Hate Mike Love” made, you don’t know how much of a dick Mike Love is.)
But now I’m back at work and my thoughts drift from thoughts of the musical abomination of “Kokomo” and back to the state of SLA. So let me dump more thoughts.
First, I’m happy that #slarecs is still being used to discuss the consultants’ recommendations. This conversation needs to continue and the hashtag is one easy way to keep it going. Use it.
Second, I was happy to see how many people stuck around for the Business Meeting at the end of the conference. I was also kind of disappointed at how many dedicated, opinionated members left to go drink or relax during the session. Attendees were clamoring for copies of the 2014 SLA financial report, which made for some sobering reading. Such as:
The jump in General and Administrative expenses is due to “severance pay”. A one time thing. #SLA2015 #slarecs pic.twitter.com/Kcvj5xprak
— Kendra K. Levine (@tranlib) June 16, 2015
So we have more information, which helps clarify the situation somewhat, but we’re still in a tight spot. Nobody knows what the way forward will look like, so this is really our chance to speak up and make it our SLA.
That’s the thing that really stuck with me from this conference: there are a lot of opinions about what SLA is, who the members are, and what we should be doing. I also met a lot of people who were ready to dig in and help – so many people care and want to do something about it. That’s what really stuck with me. I think it’s easy for people to forget the people on the board are SLA members, but they’re of us and we elected them to represent us. This isn’t to say I am totally supportive of the board right now because I think their collective actions of the past few years have made it hard to trust them, but I recognize they are trying to do what they think is best for the association. I don’t agree with all of their actions though, and I think it’s more than fair to ask them how we got to this precarious financial position. It’s also our chance to speak up and let them know what we want instead. It’s also our chance to step up and make change happen. (I’ll be pushing out some of my ideas in the coming weeks.) If you have an idea of something SLA should be doing now that you could start in your own way? Do it. I’m talking about building community. I think we need to do that now more than ever across unit boundaries. So let’s make it work.
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