Susan Forbes

Susan Forbes

What is your current role in the workplace?  I am currently serving as the Library Director for the US Environmental Protection Agency Library in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The RTP campus of EPA is a research facility, so the library primarily supports the scientists and engineers on campus. The library is staffed under contract through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – School of Information and Library Science, so I’m actually a UNC Employee. Through this arrangement with UNC, the library offers a unique internship program that allows master’s level library science students to gain professional experience.

Why did you become a librarian/info pro? After graduating from college with a degree in History and Political Science, I intended to go to law school. However, after working in a law library for a while, I realized that I loved research and reference work and decided to go to library school instead. In my current role, I am proud to be a part of a library that meets the information needs of scientists and contributes to EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment.

Tell us about your history with LMD and current role on the Board.  Although I have been very involved with SLA through the Carolinas Chapter, I was looking for a way to get more involved with a division. LMD seemed like a good fit, so when I saw that there was an opening for Membership Co-Chair, I thought that would be a great opportunity to jump in and also get more familiar with the membership at large.

Do you have any plans or initiatives for LMD in 2018 you’d like to tell us about? I am very fortunate that Valerie Ryder will be staying on this year as membership co-chair to show me the ropes. I think the membership committee’s priorities this year will be to focus on retaining current members and finding creative ways to recruit new ones. I think it’s important to get the word out about LMD’s great webinars, and the fact that it’s an ideal fit for not just managers, but anyone interested in growing their leadership skills.

What do you think is a key challenge for SLA, or for our profession, at present? I think retaining and adding new members is a huge challenge for SLA right now, as it is for many professional organizations. Involvement with the LMD Membership Committee is a way for me to help meet this challenge. I think it’s up to all of us to share the value we find in SLA, which for me includes things like networking and professional growth opportunities, with current and potential SLA members.

How can LMD members get more involved with the division or with SLA?
One way to get more involved is by volunteering to share your knowledge and experience through a webinar or a conference presentation. Program planners are always looking for ideas. For those of us interested in becoming more involved in leadership, it’s easy to get started by volunteering for a committee. Membership in SLA provides a great way to connect with colleagues and expand your professional network; becoming active at the committee or board level really helps you to grow those relationships.

And, finally, what’s a little-known fact about you? I love to travel, and especially love nature and wildlife focused trips. Alaska has been my favorite so far, but the most exotic place I’ve visited is the Galapagos Islands. I’m really hoping to get to Costa Rica in the near future!