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Chapter Members Celebrate (and Crowd the Photo Booth) at DC/SLA 75th Jubilee Gala

Chapter Members Celebrate (and Crowd the Photo Booth) at DC/SLA 75th Jubilee Gala

By Alicia Pappas, DC/SLA Treasurer-Elect and Lead Organizer of 75th Jubilee Gala

On Saturday, November 7th, over 90 DC/SLA members got together at Maggiano’s in Chevy Chase, DC to celebrate 75 years of our chapter’s excellence!  An evening complete with dinner, dancing, and even some photo booth fun!  Check out the album to see a collection of the night’s attendees making silly faces and lasting memories.

Much of the current board was in attendance and even got in on the fun by squeezing into the photo booth!  Our chapter’s current president, Deena Adelman, addressed the crowd to thank volunteers past and present.  With a focus on our Jubilee year’s events and activities, we need to take this momentum into the next year and use it to promote and further improve the benefits our members receive.

While SLA as a whole undergoes major changes and developments, it is important for us to reflect on our history and what’s brought us to this place.  Many of our past presidents were at the event and reminded many of us how special this organization is, with dedicated and loyal members who continue to work toward a valuable network of information professionals in DC.

Check out the Flickr album from the Gala!
2015 DC/SLA 75th Jubilee Gala

[If you appear in a photo in this album and you wish for us to take it down for privacy reasons, please email communications@dc.sla.org]

Posted in 75th Jubilee, Event Recap, Featured1 Comment

Recap – 31 Apps in 31 Days – October’s #DCSLATreats

Recap – 31 Apps in 31 Days – October’s #DCSLATreats

By Rick Kowalski

Last month, the DC/SLA Communications team shared their favorite can’t-live-without apps via our Twitter and Facebook accounts. (If you aren’t connected to those accounts – please connect!)

For those of you who missed the apps, here is a full list of the ones we recommended. You’ll probably need to clear out some space on your phone to make room for these:


Can’t remember all your passwords? or running out of ideas for new passwords. 1Password is an app that stores, creates and logs into your apps and websites.


A good one if you’re looking for something fun to watch this weekend, and if you have access to streaming services like Hulu, Amazon Prime or Netflix. Tells you where you can download, stream, or buy movies and TV shows.

Day One

Day One is a simple way to journal. It’s as easy as tweeting. Journal photos, thoughts, tag them, search them, view in a list, gallery or calendar formats. Add weather, location, photo, text, time and tags to each entry.  Sync automatically between devices. Available in IOS and Mac desktop versions.


Available for Apple, Android, Windows and available online, Duolingo is a free gamified environment for learning up to 21 foreign languages.

eclick presenter

Tried keynote and looking for another presentation app? What about eclick presenter? You can even ask attendees to answer questions during your presentation


Keep your notes, checklists, voice/photo memos and news clips all in one space – the cloud – accessible across all your devices. Great for keeping all your devices on the same page.


Quick and comprehensive legal research app, Fastcase “puts a comprehensive national law library and smarter and more powerful searching, sorting, and visualization tools at your fingertips.”


Are there any old Google Reader users who don’t love Feedly? Manage your RSS feeds with this versatile app available on multiple platforms. #dcslatreats

Flu Near You

Flu Near You is a website and mobile application that tracks the spread of the flu through participant reported symptoms. The data is gathered and updated weekly.


Info Pros can quickly build newsletters with Goodbits.


Start your day with a management tip from Harvard Business Review. See how many tips you can put into action each week!

Heads Up!

Info Pros are often great at trivia and clues. Try Heads Up! Guess the card on your forehead from your friends clues.

Hopper – Air Fare Predictions

Know when to fly & buy, instantly identify cheap dates, buy or wait with confidence and get notified when it’s the best time to purchase


Turn your smartphone into an instant road friendly navigator for low visibility conditions.Hudway projects an eay to view realtime image onto your windshield to help driving in unsafe conditions.

IFTTT (If This Then That)

If This Then That is here to connect your favorite apps. Trigger actions in one app when something happens in another app.


What does information profressional mean? Look it up in the InfoSci-Dictionary app for Android or iPhones. While you’re at it, find concise definitions for over 79,000 other terms in our field provided by IGI Global.


Need to access or edit a presentation quickly? Try Keynote. This presentation app, made for IOS devices, allows you to edit slides, add transitions, and even animated charts all from your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

Khan Academy

Need to get a quick refresher course on a wide range of subject matter? Pick a course in Khan Academy to get you started. Khan covers seven broad subject areas.


We can’t talk about professional development without mentioning LinkedIn! Get the app to network on-the-go.


Say you get a spark of inspiration for some library outreach but you aren’t at your desk. What do you do? Moodboard to the rescue! Quickly assemble graphics and information in a stylized poster that can be printed for your library or information center!


Need to continue your research without wifi? Use OfflinePagesPro to download/save websites


Are you a podcast junkie? Try Overcast!


Helping with math homework but maybe you forget the order of operations? Try the app PhotoMath! Take a picture of the math problem, get the answer with the work shown!


Find an article you want to read later? Put it in your Pocket! This app quickly saves and organizes articles you want to read (with tagging capability!). Great for infopros during a search, or for personal reading.

Push Bullet

Bridge the gap between your devices with Push Bullet, an app that allows you to access files and information across your devices.


The biggest trivia game in the world. Every topic you can imagine. Play against strangers or your friends. Available on all platforms.


The simplist alarm clock app with no annoying clutter and beautiful sounds to wake up to. One of the most talked about alarm apps.


Sometimes you just need to get around the DC metro area quickly. “Call” Uber with the Uber app. Select your type of ride and payment (including tip!) is automatically pulled in from your credit card.


Love the filters on instagram but aren’t as into the social aspect? Try VSCO Cam. Their beautiful presets (i.e. filters) will elevate the photos taken on your phone from average to awe-inspiring


How do info pros find the fastest way home through DC traffic? Waze! Save time with this community based traffic app.


Create, organize, and share (or delegate) your to-do lists with this intuitive app.

[Photo Credit: “App Store.” Cristiano Betta. CC BY 2.0]

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DC/SLA As a Global Voice: The Triumph of an Association

DC/SLA As a Global Voice: The Triumph of an Association

A Personal Account By Zeinab Mansour

As the Washington, DC Chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) celebrates its 75th Jubilee, it is important to reflect on the tremendous role the association plays as an internationally-minded organization. We have affirmed our commitment to international issues since the association’s creation in September 1940 and provided a forum for major global issues of concern. One cannot ignore its extraordinary efforts through the years, most significantly, the “Global 2000 Initiatives.” The association played a vital role in reaching out to librarians from developing countries, providing educational and training opportunities in order to enhance their professional development. Over the past year, we have focused on war-threatened areas.

Crowd at World Heritage Event - Bloomberg RoomThe information professionals took a stand against the recent destruction of cultural heritage sites in Iraq and Syria. The March 10, 2015 rally in front of  the White House  included activists and diplomats protesting the brutal and systematic destruction of cultural heritage sites in Iraq and Syria. The  information professionals were among the crowd carrying banners and calling on the international community to condemn such  devastating  destruction to world heritage sites.  The protesters urged the international community not to standby and witness such  destruction: indeed, it is “a war crime against humanity,” as stated by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon.

Continuing on this theme, on October 1, 2015, a forum was convened at the Bloomberg BNA in Crystal City, Virginia. The program, entitled “World Cultural Heritage Sites at Risk: Preservation Efforts in Iraq & Syria” included three prominent speakers who shared their stories of their roles in preservation efforts.

The forum began with the moderator of the program, Mr. Michael Albin, retired Librarian at the Library of Congress who once served  in Egypt and participated in the preservation efforts in Iraq. Mr. Albin discussed the “Vulnerability of Libraries & Archives and Ongoing Efforts in Restoration of What’s Been Damaged.”

Heritage1 all speakersThe second speaker was Mr. George Papagiannis, External Relations & Information Officer in UNESCO New York Office. In his presentation, entitled, “Legal and  Organizational Contribution of UNESCO to the Preservation of Antiquities in Iraq & Syria,” Mr. Papagiannis shared his passion for collaboration on this important issue and UNESCO’s critical role.

The final speaker was Dr. Mary Jane Deeb, Chief  of  the African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress.  She shared her work on the historic and cultural importance of specific sites in Iraq and Syria.

The audience included information specialists, Middle Eastern scholars and cultural activists, all united in the urgency to counter the systematic destruction of heritage of mankind. The question and answer session expressed the audience’s great concern for the international community to act and form a united front to face this major threat to the  world’s treasures.

The remarkable forum reflects the association’s role in raising awareness of crucial global issues in mobilizing support among members of the international community. It constitutes a call for partnership to face together the grave threat to the world’s cultural heritage. By providing such a forum, the association has strengthened its global voice.

Michael Albin World Heritage Event“If you’re looking for inspiration you can find it right here this evening at the DC-SLA meeting.”  – Michael Albin

In this celebration of the 75th Jubilee, it is also a recognition of the association’s triumph in its evolving role as a true player of global dimensions.

[Zeinab Mansour, Retired Librarian, The Peterson Institute for International Economics.

She is a member of the DC/SLA International Relations and Encore Caucus.]

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Event Recap: Business Information Finder’s Lunch @ Websearch University

Event Recap: Business Information Finder’s Lunch @ Websearch University

By Kerry Martin

On Friday, September 18th, five information professionals took a break from Websearch University to meet over lunch with the Business Information Finders (BIF) group. Peggy Braly, of the Export-Import Bank, who organized the meeting, started off by giving us a brief background of the group. BIF is an informal group of information professionals whose interests include business and economic data and sources. BIF is made up of special, public, & academic librarians, information brokers, analysts, publishers, vendors, and general researchers. BIF events are free and open to the public. If you are interested in BIF, please email Peggy (Peggybraly57@gmail.com). You can sign up for the BIF listserv here: http://list.wrlc.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/bif-l

Over lunch we discussed the various roles we perform in our different libraries and information centers. As many information professionals have experienced over the past decade or so, Peggy Braly described how her role has changed over the years. Margaret Metcalf and Kerry Martin, of CEB, discussed their recent e-learning success as well as the challenges of working in a 24/7 global organization. Angela Titone, of the Consumer Electronics Association, shared her experience of having staff members eager for library training. Becky Steinhardt, formerly of Target Corporation, gave us a look into the online digital asset management of a major retailer. As always, it’s nice to discuss current issues, challenges, and successes with like-minded information professionals.

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SLA Presidential Candidates Share Their Thoughts On The Future Of The Association

SLA Presidential Candidates Share Their Thoughts On The Future Of The Association

DC/SLA held a “Meet the Candidates Happy Hour” recently, where the spotlight was on SLA presidential candidates Karen Reczek and Dee Magnoni. Dee and Karen agreed in advance that they wanted to talk to the group about four topics regarding the future of SLA. After some yummy appetizers and libations at Continental Pool Lounge, we took our conversation outside due to the noise level in the place. Karen and Dee wanted to be able to hear and be heard! They took turns sharing their thoughts and they listened to member feedback and questions. The four topics were:

In an effort to summarize the discussion, the candidates were kind enough to write up their thoughts on these topics. These are sure to be common themes in the upcoming September Board of Directors election. You can see the candidates’ answers to other questions here.

Topic 1: SLA’s Competencies and Professional Development

Dee Magnoni:
Do. Learn. Repeat. Professional development has been a core focus of mine from my earliest involvement in SLA. I began with chapter programming and a member survey, understanding that member feedback and engagement is critical to success. I twice served on SLA’s Professional Development Advisory Council, once as chair. When SLA’s Competencies were revised in 2003, I was one of the authors, and I blogged about their importance this past February. Once again the competencies are being revised, and I urge every SLA member to take part. Applying skills-based development in the workplace is a strategic management tool. This year I pulled together a team within the Los Alamos National Lab Research Library to analyze competencies and apply them across our team. We are taking two approaches. First, by creating a competency grid, staff members will be able to gain depth in a competency by working their way across the grid or they may learn a new competency by working down the grid. Second, by creating a staff competency database, new teams can be formed using a skills-based approach. My focus on development continues. I am the current professional development chair of the Leadership and Management Division. I am also chairing the Volunteer Experience Task Force (VETF). When putting together an August webinar on mentoring, I decided to crowdsource speakers. The result is a fantastic line-up of a dozen speakers and participants who will share vignettes and how-to’s in a rapid-fire, high impact format. Through the VETF we’ve decided to turn this into a series: Voices of the Information Professional. Once again I’ll be reaching out to members to find topics, volunteers, speakers. Together we take action, we learn, we repeat.

Karen Reczek: I will generalize, and say, as a profession, we struggle to articulate our value. I believe our competencies are what distinguish us from other employees in the workforce.  Our competencies are our value-add. As we know, the SLA Competencies document is from 2003 and is in desperate need of an update. I am thrilled to know that DC’s very own David Shumaker has stepped up to lead this Task Force that has been struggling for a few years with the “latest revision.” I strongly believe that SLA’s professional development opportunities should be tied to those competencies. LMD has been trying to take that approach with the existing competencies document and applying relevant skills to the Leadership & Management Division (LMD) conference sessions, and webinars.  I would love to see every SLA webinar, program slot and continuing education course be tied to developing a critical competency. If it doesn’t map, then maybe we shouldn’t offer it.

Topic 2: SLA changes and how to engage members as we move forward

Dee Magnoni: On a recent Board of Directors’ call, a Roadmap for engagement and change was approved. Directors urged members to roll up their sleeves and help move the roadmap and the Association forward. How can we do this? What first steps can be taken? The May release of the recommendations from the change consultants launched a debate amongst members and units that has rarely been paralleled in SLA history. Members shared views across lists, and chapters and divisions created responses and plans. I published my own early plan on my blog, and provide an outline of my vision in the final question. Building on this initial momentum, members and units can now consider specific questions. What business models should we consider? What are their pros and cons, and are there hybrids that might work for regions or subject areas? What pilots can be tried? At what level? The chapter? The division? The caucus? Across the Association? What about the conference? From my chapter visits I know that our members have forward-looking, creative ideas. Gather ideas to specific questions. Choose a few to pilot. Experiment, then implement successes. Continue with pilots in other areas. The Volunteer Experience Task Force (VETF) that I chair polled Cabinet members on priorities and directions. The response was phenomenal, and the taskforce will be working with members on stated priorities. This same cycle of engage, pilot and implement should be paralleled at the Board and Association level. Yes, SLA is at a critical time in its history. Specific answers to financial questions must be found sooner rather than later. Our finance committee is hard at work in this area, and is considering every aspect of the budget and the sale of our building. In the past, units have voluntarily supported specific financial initiatives of the association. We are seeing similar offers of support once again. Beyond the finances, we need to work toward a business model that represents our core values and our core uniqueness. I contend that our strength and our uniqueness are in our units. Membership is largely driven by areas of expertise and geographic locations. Let us work together to define the business model that supports this many-units to many-members structure.

Karen Reczek: I think there are two things vital to SLA turning itself around.

1) Support from its members – their ideas, reactions, and contributions. I can’t help but feel we are not very good at having the difficult conversations. In the Board Roadmap report it was noted that the Consultants’ report seems to have gotten this much needed conversation started. 2) SLA needs a better process for the intake of member ideas, for the input of member feedback, and for making decisions that are consensus based. I have spent a lot of time recently communicating and educating forensic practitioners on the US documentary consensus standards development process. It’s a process that brings a variety of stakeholders together and makes them agree on “something.”  Consensus doesn’t mean unanimity but means that people can “live with it.” I think SLA has a lot of passionate stakeholders. We need a better process to reach consensus. I say that – without a solution. But I have been thinking about it a lot!

Topic 3: What is your leadership philosophy?

Dee Magnoni: My leadership philosophy stems from my engagement with SLA and with community organizations, and through my work experience. I am mission-driven, and tie the work of my group or unit to that of the organization and the needs of its customers or members.  I learned early on that people want to be part of a solution, and will work hard toward organizational success when they help create the plan. I am an open leader. I want to hear ideas. At Los Alamos any of my 30+ staff members can come to me with their thoughts and feedback. If I were to close my door I would miss the heartbeat of the organization. I am a communicative leader. Communication is key to trust. In addition to an open door for my staff, I communicate back to them through team leaders, group messages and staff meetings. Over the course of this year, as a Board candidate, I visited several chapters and made site visits to hear perspectives and concerns, and to share ideas. I am inclusive; I look for partnership opportunities and build relationships. Several times during visits I heard about the importance of mentoring. SLA had a mentoring list years ago that I started as part of a diversity initiative. With the help of SLA staff I re-instituted the list, and sent an invitation to the Leadership list and to all past Rose L. Vormelker award winners. The list grew to more than seventy members in less than two months. Volunteers from the list will be working together to present a mentoring webinar in August. I am a responsive leader. I listen, then do. I imagine with a group, then create. I chair the Data Working Group at Los Alamos, made up of Lab data stakeholders — from big science, small science, high performance computing, IT, finance, to the research library and beyond. When we convened in August 2014, I held a brainstorming session for ideas. We then prioritized ideas, and created subgroups for the chief priorities. These subgroups created mandates and implemented projects. As we head into year two, we will evaluate progress and set new directions. I like to learn the lessons of other industries and apply creative solutions to current challenges. The taxi industry, for example, is being turned on its head through Uber. What lessons does this many-to-many business model hold for SLA? What ideas do you have to share?

Karen Reczek: I believe a good leader has:

  • Having a vision and being able to communicate that vision is critical. You need to inspire and motivate around a shared sense of purpose.
  • Communication is still a top-rated skill when it comes to leadership effectiveness. All relationships thrive with clear and regular communication.
  • The Ability to Create Value. A good leader adds value and making those around them better. What do you have to contribute? How do you create value for your organization?
  • Comfort with Ambiguity. Some say change is the only constant. The ability to navigate change – and handle ambiguity – is a critical skill for today’s leaders.
  • The ability to work effectively with others is important to good leadership. Today, leaders might benefit from thinking of themselves as being in the center of a web rather than on top of a pyramid. Lead by influence, not by command.
  • A good leader needs to able to navigate the formal and informal influences. Leaders must listen and take in both the negative and positive opinions, and ensure that all stakeholders feel heard. A good leader will aim to reach consensus, accept that this is not always possible, but continue to strive for it.

Ruth Kneale shared a recent article from Forbes with the SLA Open Board. The article was called Leadership is in crisis management mode by Glenn Llopis.  There isn’t enough room here to share the main points, so I encourage folks to read it, as it speaks to some of the current challenges confronting SLA leaders.

Topic 4: Vision for the future

Dee Magnoni: Looking at the broad business landscape, I see disruption in many centralized businesses and industries. An old business model is taking new form. Micro businesses are working through centrally branded platforms to connect to their customers. Examples? Look no further than:

These many-to-many infrastructures each offer products or services that customers want. We can apply this model to SLA. Our units offer volunteer opportunities, networking and professional development to their members through the SLA brand and platform. Many join SLA for a specific division or geographic region. SLA is benefiting from its units, as the units benefit from SLA. This synergy is critical, and must be remembered in planning. Our international outreach and impact succeeds through the initiatives of our global members, our staff, and our vendor partners. All members benefit from this broad perspective, and once again we must remember this strength as we create our future association. The financial infrastructure of many-to-many businesses should be modeled and considered for SLA. Turning from our member and unit structure, SLA’s dues structure is another core discussion that must be opened and thought through. One idea is to flatten our current tiers. This would, indeed, simplify our current structure. I contend that we should consider adding options to our tiers. For example, many members join several divisions. Why not offer a “museum pass” model where five divisions can be joined for the price of three? The core division would receive the full allotment, and sub-divisions would receive a partial allotment. What of our organizational memberships? Are they delivering value to information centers and employees? Let’s investigate this option and its benefits. Some members work across a number of industries, travel broadly, and are just plain curious. Let’s create the Golden Ticket. This super category would include membership to every chapter and division, along with other distinct benefits. SLA’s annual conference generates its largest revenue. Is the current model for soliciting programming still working? Are we getting the most cutting edge work from our emerging voices? How do we find them? As one DC member suggested, let’s turn conference programming into a competitive evaluation process. What tools would we need to accomplish this change? Let’s work together to explore this and our many other ideas for SLA’s future.

I want to thank the Board and members of the DC chapter for the opportunity to visit, to listen and to share ideas that will help us create SLA’s future.

Karen Reczek: I see a future SLA that has:

  • Greater transparency
  • More business rigor
  • Improved communication with members
    • Maybe, SLA should establish Ombudsman roles?
  • Implemented partnerships with other organizations/international orgs who share our “mission” and values
  • Established a non-paid advisory board of non-information professionals (marketing, IT, CEOs, researchers, etc.) to bring a fresh outside perspective.
  • Explored new revenue streams, new services, etc. through pilot projects and prototypes and then iterations to improve them; Pilots that will have been tested on small target groups and “debugged” before wider release.
  • Identified other conference themes or events to attract a broader market
    • SLA could partner with media or innovation lab e.g., like when we were in Boston, there is the MIT Media Lab. This could be a “be the first to know” type event, a must see! Come see the next best thing! We could have entrepreneurs showcase new technologies and keynotes from these companies/orgs. They might even pay us to let them participate.

Most of all, I see a future SLA that is more responsive to its changing environment than it has been in the past. An association that is ready to pivot as soon as the data shows it’s necessary. One that is continually identifying new business opportunity gaps. I see an SLA that continues to bring value to its members.

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Celebrate DC/SLA’s 75th Jubilee

DC/SLA Tweets

Photos on flickr