Posted on July 20, 2014.
by Jan Zastrow, DC-SLA Communications Team
Sipping wine and noshing on tasty appetizers from the rooftop of Drexel University’s DC Office (and what a view of the White House!), DC-SLA members and friends (38 onsite and 17 virtual attendees) convened the evening of Monday, July 14, to hear the best of the2014 SLA Annual Conference in Toronto and to meet SLA President-Elect candidates Jim DelRosso and Tom Rink. Jim and Tom kicked off the evening with their respective visions. Jim’s theme is “move forward,” every day, every year, leaving things better than we found them. Tom’s vision is sustainability. Despite a downward trend in membership and annual conference revenue, he wants SLA to provide continuity and transparency.
Anne Caputo discussed the SLA Competencies document, saying we’ll be doing more in the way of collaboration, providing decision support (analysis and synthesis) and developing data management skills, i.e., extracting meaning from Big Data. Our skills are highly valuable but we need to be more proactive and entrepreneurial.
Sharon Lenius’ takeaway from Dave Pollard’s presentation on “How Not to Run a Meeting” was the importance of room layout. Not surprisingly, round tables are much more effective for eliciting group participation. The Military Librarians Division will be sponsoring a workshop on this and other topics such as leadership and training in Arlington, VA, Dec. 6-9 (details TBA).
Barbie Keiser reviewed the session on “Borderless CI: Researching International Intelligence.” She reported that the trend is to look at the global aspect in emerging markets: Brazil, Latin America, India and South Africa. How to do this? Partner with locals, and learn what the ethics and legalities are in different countries.
Richard Huffine gave a whirlwind summary of the Opening Keynote speech, the Annual Business Meeting, and the Closing Session. He recounted the moving experience of having an elder from a First Nation conduct open ceremonies with a chant and blessing. The theme of the conference was “Crossing Borders” and keynote speaker John Wilbank urged conference-goers to “think of borders as intersections, not divisions.” Huffine reported that the business meeting had a “distinct lack of information” but to make up for it, the Closing Session offered four “TED-style” talks that were inspiring—so much so that he felt they should have been at the beginning of the conference!
Last but definitely not least, Chris Vestal reviewed Mary Ellen Bates’ presentation on “Information Alchemy: Adding Value Where It Counts.” Bates explained that our perception of our value is more generous than our funders’ perceptions of our value. Executives want librarians to provide insight, not just data. Know your audience: senior executives prefer to reduce risk rather than save time. Sales staff, on the other hand, want quicker and better answers. Bates urges us to “ask for complaints.” Ask, “Did you get what you needed? How could it be better?” BYOD—Build Your Own Data—when there’s no database for your query. Use Google Auto-Complete to see what others are thinking. Try “[search term] vs.” and see what comes up. Use Google Trends; try datamining government sources. Finally, provide visually valuable results by using InfoGraphics. Bates admonishes us to: “Be brave … try new stuff!” Bates’ slides can be found at http://www.batesinfo.com/extras/files/sla-2014-information-alchemy.pdf.
Recording of the recap
Thanks to Safari Books Online and Drexel DC for sponsoring this great professional development opportunity!