March 12, 2013

In a guest post for the Canadian Freedom to Read Week, Raincoast Books asked author and technologist Cory Doctorow to weigh in on libraries and technology
"That is to say that society has never needed its librarians, and its libraries, more. The major life-skill of the information age is information literacy, and no one's better at that than librarians. It's what they train for. It's what they live for."
He's got some really great suggestions and ideas; I really like the one for transforming outdated PCs via in-library classes, then giving them to those who need them.

And, IMHO, he's right at the bottom line: Society has never needed us more. Thank you, Mr. Doctorow.

March 8, 2013

2013 Annual Conference in San Diego - How and Why to Make It Happen

A message from Jill Strand, chair of the 2013 Annual Conference Advisory Council; reposted from the SLA Blog.

By now you should have received your 2013 Annual Conference Preview in the mail.  Hopefully you are as excited as I am about getting together with your SLA colleagues to "connect, collaborate and strategize" in beautiful San Diego, California, this June!

The 2013 Annual Conference Advisory Council has worked incredibly hard to ensure that this conference meets your expectations like no other. Here are just a few of the reasons you should make every effort to attend:
  • All SLA units have outdone themselves to present a fabulous collection of sessions that offer something for everyone. Sessions range from featuring well-known speakers to interactive speed-dating sessions to dynamic panels on hot topics of interest. Attendees are sure to find ideas they can take back to the office and immediately put into action.
  • We already have a long list of SLA's vendor partners committed to showcasing the latest and greatest tools and technologies in the INFO-EXPO.
  • The San Diego Chapter is also going above and beyond to welcome you to their fair city with tips on fun things to do, places to eat, ways to get around and more.
We know that times are still tough for a lot of our members.  Employers are cutting back on staffing, funds for professional development, and especially travel.  Sometimes it seems like the cost of everything from airfare and hotel to food and conference registration is going up.  Believe me, the SLA HQ staff, Board and Conference Council know this hard truth all too well.  That's part of the reason why we've been working to make sure the conference offers you as much value for your money as possible.  We realize that members may have other financial obligations that simply take precedence over attending the annual conference.  But I encourage you to consider the following:
  • The Value of Making an Investment in Yourself and Your Career - Just because your employer has pulled back on investing in your professional development, that doesn’t mean you should too.   Just like your home or a child's education, your career is a worthy investment. It's what keeps you competitive and ensures your job security and future advancement. Perhaps your employer would be willing to give you time off to attend and cover the registration or hotel costs.
  • Ways to Be Creative - Many chapters and divisions offer stipends you can apply for to cover the bulk of conference expenses. In addition, thanks to the generosity of SLA's vendor partners, you certainly won't starve with many delicious lunch and snack breaks offered in the INFO-EXPO and the multitude of receptions to choose from during the evenings.
  • Sharing the Fun - Maybe you swore off roommates after that bad experience in college but we've all grown up a bit, and the pros can outweigh the cons. In addition to saving money, it can be fun to have someone to hit receptions with or share a recap of how the day went.
  • The Bigger Picture - Did you know that the annual conference makes up more than 60% of SLA’s revenues? The conference is what keeps our membership dues relatively low in comparison to those of other associations. Think of all the things we get for our membership: lower rates for webinars, continuing education, and access to networking, the Career Center and the online Innovation Lab, as well as discounts on many other products and services. While we may not be able to participate every year, each of us is making a contribution to the association when we attend the annual conference.
I look forward to seeing you all in San Diego!

Jill can be reached at