Thursday, July 24, 2008

Potential Academic Division of SLA

For the past few years, I've talked with colleagues at SLA conference about how great it would be if the conference had programming focused on academic library/campus issues. SLA is great because of its subject-specialized programming. I know I personally have learned a great deal from sessions on science resources, competitive intelligence tools, advanced searching techniques, and so forth. Wouldn't SLA be the perfect conference if in addition to the already excellent programming, leadership, and networking opportunities, academic librarians could also get those things we need about marketing our services more effectively to faculty, creating better instruction sessions for undergraduates, navigating the promotion/tenure process, building partnerships on campus, developing a learning commons, and so on. The possibilities are endless!

After talking with a few more people at the leadership summit earlier this year, I decided to pursue the idea of launching a new division and began the process shortly before the SLA Annual Conference in Seattle. I spent much of my time in Seattle in meetings, but I did manage to pull together 62 signatures very quickly at the conference. This afternoon, with the support and assistance of the division cabinet chairs and SLA HQ, I launched an online petition to gain the needed 100 total signatures. I'm delighted that within less than two hours, 24 more members have signed the petition. Even more exciting, 16 of the 24 indicated an interest in serving in an officer or committee capacity.

If you are willing to pay $18 to join an Academic Division of SLA and you are a current SLA member, you can sign the petition. I know there are some SLA members who are concerned about the formation of such a division, and I also know there are many who support it. I've already received multiple letters of support this afternoon. The Academic Division will bring more value to SLA membership, and it will be an excellent second (or third or fourth...) division for many of us. This is a great opportunity to build a new division, one that many of us feel SLA members need. Contact me if you are interested in getting involved.

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