By Deena Adelman, DC/SLA President
Before I summarize this year’s activities and share my final reflections, I want to thank ProQuest and Special Counsel for sponsoring our Jubilee, my company MacroSys for supporting my association involvement and providing board meeting space, and my husband Michael for his encouragement, patience, and willingness to travel with me to SLA events. And of course, most importantly, thank you to all of the members, including more than 80 dedicated volunteers. In particular, I want to thank the 2015 DC/SLA Board: Beth Maser (President-Elect), Chris Vestal (Past President), Ramona Howerton (Treasurer), Alicia Pappas (Treasurer-Elect), Claire D’Mura (Recording Secretary), Rick Kowalski (Communications Secretary), Layla Heimlich (Program Director), and Morgan Grimes (Technology and Innovation Director). They put in extensive time to make this year special and served as exemplary representatives of the chapter, including making sure the SLA Board received feedback from the chapter on the SLA Recommendations Report.
I also want to recognize George Franchois for receiving the DC/SLA Board of Directors Award, and the Jubilee Task Force, led by Sharon Lenius, for receiving the Member of the Year Award. You can read about the winners’ accomplishments here. Congratulations also to Blane Dessy (President-Elect), Jack Dale (Recording Secretary), Lois Ireland (Program Director), and Layla Heimlich (Sponsor Relations Director) on being elected to the DC/SLA Board, and to DC/SLA members Dee Magnoni (President-Elect), Mary Talley (Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect), Nicholas Collison (Treasurer), and Karen Reczek (Director) for being elected or appointed to the SLA Board.
This year DC/SLA created or co-sponsored more than 30 programs, with many organized by the chapter’s groups and committees, including the International Relations Committee, Military Libraries Group, Career Development Committee, and the Business Information Finders Group. We celebrated our 75th anniversary through programs such as TED talk discussions led by past-presidents, receptions at Leadership Summit and Annual Conference, a scavenger hunt at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and dinner and dancing at our recent gala (be sure to check out the photo booth pictures). Members also learned about traits employers value, became informed about cultural heritage preservation efforts in the Middle East, discussed book club selections such as Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, and networked at happy hours.
For our 75th anniversary we offered a Jubilee VIP program, where members could pay $75 to cover admission to most programs and show their support for SLA. I was impressed not just that we ended up with 35 VIPs, but also the eagerness with which members wanted to be part of this program.
Our Communications Committee produced the monthly newsletter Chapter eNotes—keeping us informed about upcoming events, recaps of events, reflections, professional development opportunities, and tips, trends, and other resources from the information community. They also made use of other communications channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, including treating us to a month of can’t-live-without apps. The Archives Committee created a digital exhibit in honor of the 75th anniversary. DC/SLA was also the first chapter to begin testing the new communications and collaboration community SLA Connect.
Last year I announced that our theme would be “reflective momentum”—looking back, and within, in order to move forward with purpose. I called on members to write reflections of their experiences in SLA and 20 of you shared your inner musings, memories, inspirations, and what SLA means to you. Members expressed how they see SLA as a dependable, diverse, welcoming community that helps them grow personally and professionally, provides essential connections for job opportunities, pushes them out of their comfort zones, presents rewarding leadership opportunities, gives them confidence, encourages them to think innovatively and adapt to an evolving field, build lasting friendships, and of course have fun.
Now, I’d like to offer you my final reflections. What I have learned most since I became active in SLA is that DC/SLA members care. You care about helping each other, strengthening the organization, and making a difference in the greater information community. You demonstrate selflessness in the hundreds of volunteer hours you put in; you show generosity in going out of your way to help other members—whether through connecting someone to a potential job opportunity or providing resume feedback; you make sure to let chapter leaders and other volunteers know you appreciate their efforts; you express commitment in the time you take to provide input regarding organization changes and by serving on the SLA Board and committees. Much has changed since the chapter began 75 years ago, but I believe the constants are the dedication of its members and the value of the relationships formed. I am grateful I was able to lead the chapter in its 75th year and am proud to be part of such a great organization and work with such wonderful people who have given me the opportunity to grow and make a difference in others’ lives.