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President’s Message – Final Reflections

President’s Message – Final Reflections

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.

Chapter Activities

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.

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President’s Message – Nurturing a Legacy

President’s Message – Nurturing a Legacy

By Deena Adelman, DC/SLA President

On November 7th, DC/SLA members came together for dinner, drinks, and dancing in celebration of the chapter’s 75th anniversary. A special thanks goes out to Alicia Pappas for planning the event. You can read her recap of the Jubilee Gala and see photos here. I was honored to be part of this event culminating decades of service and participation by members. The gala was a time to relax and let loose, as well as a reminder of the great legacy we all share and the closeness of chapter members.  As I spoke in front of everyone, I could see all the faces of the individuals who have nurtured my growth and so many others’ personal and professional development.

For sure, the members of SLA are the organization’s greatest asset, relentlessly devoting time in order to support the success of others. One of the best ways to connect with members is through volunteer opportunities. In Lois Ireland’s reflection this month, she talks about how she became active by hosting a dine-around and grew “to appreciate so many people I wouldn’t have otherwise crossed paths with in the course of my regular work and social life.” Sometimes all it takes is one event to get yourself going.

When I first became active in DC/SLA five years ago, I had no inkling that I would end up serving as chapter president. One of the great aspects of SLA is that members have the opportunity to start with small opportunities and quickly work their way into larger leadership roles. We are encouraged to push our boundaries, taking on sometimes unfamiliar yet rewarding responsibilities. SLA President-Elect Tom Rink notes in his reflection “Every time I have said ‘yes’ to SLA by agreeing to serve in some capacity or another, I have stepped outside my comfort zone to embrace an opportunity to grow and to give myself an opportunity to succeed.” Perhaps it’s also time for members to welcome the same philosophy for the organization as a whole, and let SLA find new ways to grow and thrive. I hope you will join me in supporting our SLA Board as it continues to address tough issues in the face of limited time and the challenge of trying to please everyone. We can be true to our heritage while remaining open to change.

Finally, we still have two events coming up that I encourage our members to attend. On November 19th the Military Libraries Group will present the program The Louisiana Maneuvers: A Nation Prepares for War and on December 15th we will finish off the year with our Annual Meeting/Holiday Party.

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

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President’s Message – Shared Heritage and Responsibility

President’s Message – Shared Heritage and Responsibility

Happy autumn everyone! Perfect time for sitting among colorful leaves, reflecting on 2015, and planning for your upcoming year.

Last month DC/SLA members elected Blane Dessy (President-Elect), Jack Dale (Recording Secretary), Lois Ireland (Program Director), and Layla Heimlich (Sponsor Relations Director) to the 2016 DC/SLA Board. You can view the entire list of DC/SLA Board members for next year here. Congratulations to all of the new Board!

DC/SLA is also looking for members to serve on committees in 2016. If you are interested in volunteering, please see the list of committees and contact Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Kelly at volunteer@dc.sla.org. Note that some committees may not have spots available, so please indicate multiple committees and/or specify your interests so we can help match you to a group.

SLA also held its election, with members selecting Dee Magnoni (President-Elect), Nick Collison (Treasurer), Tom Nielsen (Division Cabinet Chair-Elect), and Mary Talley (Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect) to serve on the SLA Board next year. In fact, three out of the four candidates elected are members of the DC Chapter.

DC/SLA kicked off October with the event “World Cultural Heritage Sites at Risk: Preservation Efforts in Iraq and Syria” at Bloomberg BNA in Crystal City. This program, which drew around 70 people, provided insight into the importance and reach of cultural heritage, risks faced by libraries and archives in the Middle East, contributions by organizations such as the Library of Congress and UNESCO to preservation efforts, and the role that the public can play in protecting antiquities and collections. You can read a recap of the event by Zeinab Mansour. The program was more than just informative; it was also a call to action. Speaker Michael Albin emphasized the lack of coverage of this topic by the media and other organizations and recognized DC/SLA’s role in providing a forum for this concern of global importance. SLA members can be at the forefront of helping to bring awareness to this issue by spreading the word to colleagues, holding programs on this topic, and writing their representatives. As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, this event is a reminder that DC/SLA plays an important part not only among members, but throughout the information profession, in the broader DC community, and on the international stage.

Speaking of the anniversary, remember to register for the Jubilee Gala taking place on Saturday, November 7th. The event is free for all DC/SLA members and each member can bring a guest at a discounted rate. Join us for dinner, drinks, dancing, and good times!

We also have other events coming up, including Search Engines for Business Researchers – October 19, 2015, Trivia Night: Third Annual Battle of the DC Librarians – October 26, 2015, Nonfiction Book Club – October 28, 2015, Webinar: Custom Information Solutions at the National Institutes of Health – November 13, 2015, Beyond the Job Advertisement – November 16, 2015, and The Louisiana Maneuvers: A Nation Prepares for War – November 19, 2015.

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President’s Message – Lasting Connections

President’s Message – Lasting Connections

By Deena Adelman, DC/SLA President

Last month, President-Elect Beth Maser and I had the opportunity to meet with 13 former DC/SLA Presidents to celebrate DC/SLA’s 75th anniversary and discuss the future of the chapter. These individuals didn’t call it quits once their stints in office had ended, or even in cases of retirement—they continue to be active members in the organization. So why stay a part of SLA even after you have given so much to the association or feel you have surpassed your need to grow as an information professional? There are many answers to this question—such as continual learning and the desire to seek higher offices in SLA—but the most apparent ones from that evening were the meaningful relationships and loyalty to the organization. In Treasurer Ramona Howerton’s reflection for this month, she tells us of her lasting love affair with SLA. But, she points out, “I can’t say it was love at first sight; it just seemed like the smart thing to do at the time.” Often, the benefits of SLA start out as the most obvious and immediate ones—professional development programs, guidance on job tasks, expanding networks, improving skill sets. All of these offerings are of course important, but perhaps ultimately, people stay because of the emotional attachment, trust in SLA to be there in times of need, and realization that they can make a difference and grow on a personal level. For many, the organization becomes more than just a group to which they belong; it becomes their organization, one they help build, mold, and develop with their colleagues.

At the dinner, we also discussed how DC/SLA can act as a springboard for students and young professionals by not only providing the opportunity for these members to serve on committees or the Board, but also encouraging them to create and speak at chapter programs.  In the past, the chapter has offered scholarships to students. Next year, DC/SLA will be expanding the opportunity for educational grants to the entire chapter membership.

There was also some conversation that although serving as President is rewarding, the three-year commitment to serve as President-Elect, President, and Past President can be a bit demanding. Last year, the Board voted to have the President-Elect focus on program planning, which reduced some of the workload and let others solely interested in program planning take on the role of Program Director. Many people may not realize that the President was also responsible for serving as Nominations Chair and Awards Chair in the years following his/her term. I am pleased to announce that the Board voted earlier this month to remove this requirement, leaving the President with an actual three-year term and allowing other members to serve as chairs of these committees.

DC/SLA continues to cater to the varied interests of its members through upcoming programs such as World Cultural Heritage Sites at Risk: Preservation Efforts in Iraq & Syria and the Nonfiction Book Club discussion of The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. Stay tuned for a speed networking event and a program on what hiring managers look for in job candidates.

Each member should have received a personalized invitation to the Jubilee Gala, which is taking place on November 7th at Maggiano’s in Friendship Heights. If you did not receive an invitation, you can still register. This event is free for all members.

Also, check out the Digital Exhibit created by the Archives Committee in honor of DC/SLA’s Jubilee! Additional pictures will be added soon.

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Take Time, Take Note, Take Action

Take Time, Take Note, Take Action

By Deena Adelman, DC/SLA President

Following this year’s Annual Conference, I made the extra effort to expand on my session notes and draft potential action items for my library. In doing so, I was reminded of the importance of carefully taking notes, reviewing and analyzing summaries, and making selections for application. This process seems obvious, but quite often people attend an engaging program or have a stimulating conversation and neglect to record, internalize, and apply the content or guidance presented. How often have we heard words of wisdom but get home later and realize we cannot remember the advice? How many presentations do we attend where we are distracted or never take the time to study our notes?

As you all experience the remainder of this year’s programming and networking opportunities (lots to come!) or other areas of your professional and personal life, I hope you will listen intently, record and review purposefully, and apply judiciously.  Take time to reflect on what matters most to you, take note of ideas that contribute to your direction, and take action to transform your goals into reality. I would love to hear from members who find ways to apply to their careers what they learn from DC/SLA programs or fellow members. Please feel free to email me at president@dc.sla.org.

Now on to elections! At a happy hour last month, SLA President-Elect Candidates Dee Magnoni and Karen Reczek shared their thoughts with members on four topics that they thought were important to SLA.  These candidates will also be speaking during a webinar on August 27.  SLA members also have access to webinar recordings and other resources for all SLA Board candidates to help make informed decisions during the election next month, September 2-25.

DC/SLA will also be holding our own election Sept. 1-25, for the positions of President-Elect, Program Director, Vendor Relations Director, and Recording Secretary. Although the candidates are running uncontested, I ask you to show your support of the chapter and respect to the candidates by placing a vote next month.

Also, be on the lookout next month for an invitation to the Jubilee Gala!

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