Wired West: Volume 14, no. 1
By Richard Matiachuk
For the last few years the first President’s message of the year has been to report on the SLA Leadership Summit. The Summit is for introducing new presidents / president-elects to the broader aspects of involvement in the SLA. Often we are focused on our local chapter but we are part of a larger, international organization. The Summit helps reinforce that perspective and offers a time and place to meet both SLA headquarter and chapter leaders from around the world.
For me the most meaningful aspect of the Summit was the opportunity to meet other SLA leaders from the Canadian Chapters. Cecily and I met, and met with, Jennifer Burns (Toronto Chapter President), Laura Warner, (Toronto Chapter President-Elect), and Isabella Moreau (Eastern Canada Chapter President-Elect). From our talks I sensed there is a growing interest in having a united Canadian voice; where our Canadian chapters dialogue and intentionally give feedback to SLA headquarters. Not that we would necessarily disagree with, or give critique, but that we are at least discussing issues across our country and communicating a ‘Canadian’ perspective to the SLA.
Summit Keynote: Susan Robertson, Executive Vice President at ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership spoke about “The Decision to Volunteer and the Decision to Join”
Susan provided much to think about but what stood out for me was her comment about influencers. From their research they found that 77.7 % of association members joined an association because they were encouraged to do so by: a colleague / coworker, professor / instructor, or a university program. It made me wonder, when was the last time I recommended a colleague or student join the SLA?
Susan also pointed out that people do not join associations because of member benefits like discounts at bookstores. They join because they are looking for access to the most up-to-date information on their profession and for professional development and education. They also join in order to be able to make a difference in the lives of others by their involvement in the association. Would you say that is true for you? I know if was for me.
Conference planning session
In 2014 the SLA Conference will be in Vancouver and we will be the host Chapter. People love to come to Vancouver and everyone I talked to is looking forward to coming here for the Conference. The question on my mind has been, ‘what is involved in being the host chapter?’ What is expected? What are the financial costs to us? To find out more I met with Kristin Foldvik (Director, Events) and attended the 2012 planning meeting.
The planning for the 2014 Conference will begin next year. The 2012 SLA President will appoint a Conference Chair and that person will assemble a team to plan the event. We will need to establish a host chapter team with a liaison to work with the 2014 planning team. In 2013 we will need to provide a table display at both the Leadership Summit and at the Conference in San Diego. Listening-in at the planning meeting, and hearing from the host chapters, and talking to members at the summit helped stimulate my enthusiasm for our 2014 event. This will be an event where we can really shine and show-off our chapter (which spans half of Canada!). I will send out a more detailed email to the chapter so we can all begin thinking about 2014.
There is so much more I could relate from the Summit but let me focus on two more highlights: the financial realities of the association and the new website / email addresses
The reality is that the SLA will have a deficit in 2010. Dan Trefethen (Treasurer) has been advocating for no more deficits and the budget will be balanced.
The impact is that:
- Services will be maintained but reduced; for example, in 2010 there were 25 Click U webinars, in 2011 there will be 10.
- Staff levels have decreased from 28 (June 2009) to 18 (as of Janaury 2011). Fewer people means that things cannot be the done same way; changes need to happen.
- Salaries and benefits have not increased (and in some cases gone backward).
How can we help our Association? Encourage people to join (membership fees are flexible based on income) and promote (and attend) the annual conference. Register early for the Conference because this sends the vendors and sponsors a message that the event is going to be well attended.
Website and email addresses
The WCC Board has already been testing the new email addresses and, our website now includes the standardized email addresses. These standardized email addressed are provided by a partnership between SLA and Webgator. The move to standardized email addresses will be a good move that will bring continuity to contact information from year-to-year.
SLA has also initiated a new website template for units (chapters, divisions and caucuses). The move to the new website for the units (using Wordpress) has had 5 objectives:
- Stable and modern website hosting
- Affordable (only $40 USB/chapter/year)
- Brand compliance (there are too many designs among chapters leaving a disjointed appearance to the SLA)
- Promote common content management
- Rebuild the Webmaster community
Some advantages to this new website using Wordpress include:
- Incorporating ‘widgets’
- Allows for the application of themes (skins) to provide some variation while retaining a brand appearance
- Permits workflow with multiple authors
- A job board plug-in is available
- Member-only component for units can be offered (a Wiki for internal programming maybe???) and
- Ability to include a Google map plug-in for event locations.
In phase 1 there have been 17 early adopters (both WCC and Toronto are early adopters). SLA is now looking for the next set of adopters for phase 2. Our chapter can go live anytime so we need to update our website content to ensure we are not just migrating old information.
As I begin this year I would like to thank Frances Main and the Board for all their hard work in 2010, and I look forward to working with the new Board in 2011.
SLA WCC is always looking for volunteers in a variety of capacities. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact me, at email@example.com, or
Richard Matiachuk is Reference Librarian at Regent College.
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