2020 has now come to an end, and with it my term as president of the Special Library Association's Illinois Community. While many are happy to see 2020 in the rear-view mirror, for me it is a bittersweet moment. While I am looking forward to the many possibilities of the new year, I am sad for all the possibilities we me missed last year. Not that last year was a total failure; rather, it was far from it. The community rose to the occasion and had some great virtual programming, and I will discuss that in a moment.
As mentioned above, we did very well with our virtual programming. If anything, "very well" is an understatement. We all saw a lot of virtual programming last year, and I have to say the Illinois Community's was head and shoulders above everyone else's. Our crowning achievement was the Midwest Symposium held last July. Years ago, the Midwestern states had an annual symposium together, though in recent years that had fallen out of practice. It was my hope that we could revive it, and the cabinet agreed. President Elect (now President) Kristin Stutzman took up the cause and ran with it. She worked with the I-School at University of Illinois to host it, and when the COVID-19 lock-down hit, she seamlessly moved it to a virtual event. We ended up having guests and presenters from across the U.S. and Canada.
Another top-notch event was the virtual tour of the archives of microphone manufacturer Shure Corporation. The event was hosted by our own Julie Snyder, who is also a member of the parent board for SLA. We were able to squeeze in a dine-around before the lock-down, and then several virtual happy hours after it was imposed.
This year several changes in the local community structure and finances were made as mandated by the governing board of SLA. All finances have been consolidated and maintained by the parent board of SLA. Therefore, our Illinois bank account was closed out and the balance transferred to the central account. The second big, mandated change was the size of community boards. The number of required officers has been reduced to three, President, President-Elect, and Secretary. While Past President, Treasurer, External Communications, and Membership Director are no longer elected offices, the Illinois Community has chosen to maintain many of these positions as appointed positions to the board, and the responsibilities of the Treasurer have been rolled into the duties of the Secretary. The board also created two new positions - student chapter representative, and Director of Strategic Partnerships. We currently have a student representative from the University of Illinois, and we hope to see a Dominican representative in 2021.
All in all, 2020 turned out better than expected. It was a tough time and uncharted territory, but we rose to the occasion. We would have been nothing if not for the work of our amazing board: Past President Rachel Cole, President-Elect Kristin Stutzman, Secretary Eugene Guidice, Treasurer Dan Bostrom, External Communications Sabine Schuller, Vendor Relations Mary Oliver, Membership Beth Sheehan, and Student Representative Rebecca Green. We owe them a debt of gratitude, and it has been a privilege for me to work with all of them.
I think this year will be even better as lock-down restrictions loosen up. Our strength is great programming, and once we can meet in-person again, it will be even better. As I sign off this letter, and my last official act as community president, I know 2021 will be great year under the guidance of our three elected board members, President Kristin Stuzman, President-Elect Dan Bostrom, and Secretary Valerie Moore. Good Luck and God Speed!
David E BenderSLA IL President 2020