October 15, 2009

Thoughts on SLA's Name Change

Once again, the specter of "what does that name mean anyway? Maybe if we change it to something else things will be better" rears its head.  SLA - the Special Libraries Association - is proposing a name change, this time to "the Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals".

To say the discussions are running hot would be an understatement. Even the quieter listservs I belong to had over a dozen postings since yesterday, and the larger ones had many more.  A glimpse at the Twitter feed for #slaname will give a decent overview of the hullabaloo. I won't even go into the details of what folks have been saying about the acronym, "ASKPro" - I bet you can figure that out by yourself.

How do I feel? I'm - baffled. If the whole point was to find a name that expressed our profession better, I don't think this one is it. I also have never felt the way to solve the problem with the image of librarians is to remove the word "librarian" from the discussion (but, that's just me, and I admit it). Many of the discussions I've seen include some variation on "What does that mean, anyway?" and to paraphrase a post in one of my listservs, having to define what your name means to your membership = FAIL. I just don't think this is the right choice for us.

It does seem an opportune time to mention a new discussion group called "Libraries Need Librarians", where this topic has been one of the most discussed to date. It's a new discussion group, based on the need to support the role and necessity of librarians. Take a look.

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