Library Association Memberships

This is potentially a controversial issue – but it has to be said.

I just renewed my SLA membership, the only library association I belong to. Why is it the only one? I love the people at SLA, the courses they offer and how they keep up with the times and technologies. Even with all of that, I wouldn’t be a member if they treated members the same way some of the other associations do.

I was recently asked to participate in an interest group for an association. I said, ‘heck yeah, but I’m not a member do I have to be?’ Apparently I can participate for a period of time without being a member – but why not join the association?? It’s simple. I do a lot of speaking and I have only one rule when it comes to speaking – I will not pay to speak for an association (local libraries – sure – but big associations – fat chance). I will accept a reimbursement of my expenses (without honorarium) in most cases, but I will not pay out of pocket to speak for an association when I can educate librarians at no cost to me via several other venues.

Today I filled out forms to speak at 3 conferences. Two of them require that members speak without any compensation and I just can’t live with that – so I don’t join. I spoke at a state conference last year and had to fight to get my mileage reimbursed because they insisted that association members and librarians who work in the state don’t get paid to speak. Why?

I want to belong to more associations, I want to help the library profession and share my knowledge, but I do not want to – and will not – go bankrupt doing so.

So there you go, that’s the reason I am not a member of many library associations that I would love to join (and pay for membership in). That’s the reason you’ll be seeing me at so many conferences next year – because I’m not a member and that means I can actually afford to come speak to you.

News from American Libraries

Yippeee – I don’t have a membership to ALA – I’m an SLA member and can’t carry two memberships – but I just got this news about American Libraries and sounds like I can get a few of the perks of membership for free.

  1. Our weekly e-newsletter, American Libraries Direct, is now available to anyone who wants to sign up for it, not just ALA members. The sign-up form, as well as the FAQ, is at .
  2. American Libraries has launched its own blog, AL Inside Scoop, . Editor-in-chief Leonard Kniffel offers an insider’s view of goings-on at ALA headquarters and what hot topics ALA staffers are talking about in the hallways. Associate Editor Greg Landgraf offers his perspective from “the lower floors” of what many see as the ALA ivory tower.
  3. Login is no longer required to view the current issue of the American Libraries print magazine online (in PDF format), or to view the archives, which date back to the January 2003 issue. Go directly to . First-time viewers will need to install the ebrary reader to view issues. To download, go to . Firefox 3 users installing the reader for the first time will need a workaround, , to make the ebrary reader work with their browser.

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Reality 2.0: Transforming Ourselves & Our Association

Last night I got to hear Stephen Abram talk about the future of SLA & librarianship. First (and most important) I have uploaded my pictures to Flickr.

Stephen started with a mini rant (a good rant) about the fact that there is no proof that the book is at risk. Reading stats are going up and book sales are going up. That said, do we hear that librarians are at risk? Ever hear this one, “Everything’s on the Internet.” The fact is that librarians are at risk even if books aren’t. In short, there are some serious issues we have to get stronger about talking about.

Stephen mentioned that we’re about to experience some huge changes. If you think about it, we haven’t had any major changes in a long while. Our grandparents had a bunch of huge changes all hit them at once (phones, tv, 2 world wars, etc) and it’s time for that to happen again. North America is way behind the rest of the world when it comes to technology. In Europe, people are using their phones for everything. They have free TV delivered through their phone and text messages for everything. I’m not a fan of this movement – maybe it’s just because of the costs associated with it here – but – I just want a phone – I don’t need it to double as a TV.

When it comes to digitization, China is only 5 years from digitizing everything written in Chinese. It’s not going to be long before everything is available in digital format. We’re going to need the tools to take advantage of this content.

So, what does this have to do with SLA? Everything! The world is changing and librarians have to change with it and SLA wants to help librarians make that change as smooth as possible. One interesting point that Stephen brought up was the fact that when someone leaves an organization one of the first things they do is clear off their computer – bookmarks and all. This means that all the great resources that long time librarians have collected are lost. We have to start storing our data in collaborative spaces so that we can all benefit from each other’s knowledge. I love this! And this is why I took so much pride in working on improving the Jenkins Law Library research links (a project) – I wanted to make sure we were sharing our resources with any one who might need them.

Stephen asks that instead of sharing the myth amongst ourselves that we’re collaborative, why not be collaborative? I love this! The fact is that the nature of associations is changing – something I wrote about in library school. The main selling point for associations used to be networking – but now with tools like Ning, Facebook and LinkedIn – why do I need an association to find fellow peers? With these tools threatening library associations as we know them, what can SLA do to continue to be important for librarians? The answer is learning and innovation.

One way that SLA is setting itself apart (in my opinion) is their Click-U. Educational events for SLA members. What I didn’t know is that they have a regular presentation by Gary Price where he shares the newest tools he’s found for researching and they have a monthly free course available. Being a recently graduated student, I’m a bit too poor to pay for too many classes – so I love to find things for cheap or free!

SLA also offers members access to over 1000 e-books on leadership and management topics (apparently we were told about this – but I missed it somehow – after writing this I’m heading to the SLA site to check out my member profile). They also offer what they call ExecuBooks Summaries – they are 4 page summaries of new releases.

The thing I’m most excited about hasn’t been released yet, but I’m keeping my eyes open for it, the Innovation Labs. This area of the SLA site will be a testing bed for members to try out all kinds of free and proprietary software without having to install it or pay for it. Some of the big names will include Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Blogger, Survey Monkey and Confluence. It’s basically a place for everyone to play!! This area of the site will also have over 25000 software training videos from atomic learning. How great is that???

While this isn’t everything that Stephen talked about, these were the bits that I was able to write down as he sped through his awesome talk. He certainly made me pay even more attention to what the association is doing for us – I hope he did the same for some of the rest of you.

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Philadelphia SLA’s Tech-Topics Series

Straight from my inbox:


The TechTopics Series will be comprised of three evening workshops concentrating on new technologies and tools, and are designed for anyone who is interested in keeping their skill sets up-to-date.

These "hands-on" workshops will provide you with an overview of new technologies such as wikis, blogs and other online office applications, and show you how to apply these key learnings to your organization!

These evening sessions are specifically designed for the busy information professional. For a nominal registration fee of $15.00 ($25.00 for non-members), you will receive interactive training in an open-learning setting designed to answer your questions on how to apply these best practices to your own work environment! Food and refreshments are included!

All workshops will be held in the evening in Room 116 at the Korman Computing Center on the campus of Drexel University, in Philadelphia, PA. If you are unable to attend in person, please bear in mind we plan to deliver these sessions via web-based simulcast as well!!!

Planned Sessions:

Registration will be from 5:00 – 5:30 pm for each session"¦

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 — 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
The 2.0 Office: More Than Just Wikis & Blogs
Instructor: Nicole Engard

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 — 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
"Plug-in" to Firefox!
Instructor: Chris Curry

AND, in November 2007"¦
Second Life
Instructor: Tim Siftar


Information on registration and more details on the September session — coming soon!

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Hopefully this will make Open Source a more viable option for libraries who have been holding off:

PALINET is aware that not all of our members have the technical support or skills necessary to install or test the open source applications that are currently available. We're looking at a number of ways to address this issue, but we've taken two initial steps already. First, a member Technology Caucus has begun regular discussions of open source software tools in monthly meetings. Yesterday, a group of library developers met at the PALINET offices in Philadelphia to install test copies of Koha and Evergreen for evaluation and comparison. It's my hope that we'll be able to put together a couple of really clean, well integrated, model systems, which will demonstrate the kind of functionality that is possible with these open source ILS solutions.

Second, we're just finalizing an agreement with LibLime, a leader in open source solutions for libraries, to offer discounted setup and support for the Koha Classic, and Koha Zoom ILS software. See our announcement at ALA Annual 2007.

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SLA Newsreader

The Special Libraries Association (SLA) announced today that it has partnered with NewsGator to launch an online service that delivers RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds to the desktops of thousands of information professionals. This exclusive service is free only to members of SLA, and is available at as part of the SLA News Connections.

I got a chance to have a peak at this new reader – it’s pretty nifty – especially for RSS newbies. They have predefined sets of feeds that people can subscribe to with one click – which is very handy when you’re new to all of this.

Read the Press Release.