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SLA Leadership Symposium musings, and more, from the SF Bay Area Chapter President

Greetings, colleagues.

Thank you for electing me chapter president! Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Public Health Librarian at the UC Berkeley Bioscience, Natural Resources & Public Health Library. I have worked at UC Berkeley since 2002, and have been a chapter member since about 15 minutes after starting work here. (Actually, it took a little longer). I am so happy to be working for the chapter, along with the others on the Executive Board, Advisory Board, committee members, and all of the members. The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter is SLA’s 5th largest chapter with 171 members; SLA as a whole has about 4000 members.

I was happy to see many folks at the Member Appreciation Dinner last week. Good food, good company. Thanks to Sarah Cook for the idea, and to Maureen Mason for the heavy lifting to make it happen, and to all the folks who had a hand in making this event real.

Just over a week ago, I attended SLA’s Leadership Symposium in New Orleans, aka NOLA. I highly recommend attending, if you ever wish to be immersed in all things SLA, especially if you are serving, or plan to serve, a chapter, division, or caucus in any leadership position. Our President-Elect Zac Painter was also at the Symposium, Here are some thoughts coming out of my experience:

Part of the time there was spent reflecting on what I consider my qualities and my goals in this position, my communication styles, and so forth. What would my colleagues say about me? After all, one’s reputation - and the actions that lead to one’s reputation - is more important than one’s intent. Despite occasional bouts of imposter syndrome, I am hopeful that after my year of being president ends, my reputation with all of you will be positive. But that’s your call.

Also taking up much of the time in NOLA were sessions on the “nuts and bolts” of SLA: How to use GoToMeeting and SurveyMonkey (2 tools that SLA provides for us); who among the SLA staff we would contact for what; and so forth.

SLA President Hal Kirkwood and SLA Executive Director Amy Burke gave a brief presentation on the state of SLA as an association. Frankly, the outlook is a little gloomy: SLA’s expenses were about $500,000 over income last year (Anyone can view SLA Board meeting agendas that have this information). Obviously that’s not sustainable. According to Hal and Amy, they are looking at everything to come up with solutions. They gave no real specifics, but there were hints that big changes may be coming to SLA. My sense was, we would hear within a couple of months what those changes might be. I wish I had something more specific on this but I know nothing more than what I am saying here. But, one quote I wrote was this: The most strategic thing an association can do is build its “stop doing this” list. What should SLA stop doing? The SLA Board would welcome your ideas - really! (Send ideas my way; I will forward, or you can communicate directly with the SLA Board.)

Here is a link to 2 slide decks from the Leadership Symposium.

Because I also serve as a Diversity Inclusion Community Equity Caucus co-convener, I want to report that there was a good amount of conversation on those kinds of topics at some of the NOLA sessions. (In case you were unaware, the DICE Caucus is free to join for all SLA members – just log on to and click Access Membership to add the Caucus to your membership). The Caucus has some ideas that, with SLA Board approval, may move forward. These include a climate survey (if you are unfamiliar with that term, see, for example, of SLA membership, and an examination of the language of SLA policies, procedures, etc. for inclusiveness (ie, removal of gender pronouns or other exclusive language). More on those efforts later, I hope.

I look forward to talking with you all during the upcoming year; I plan on calling some folks just to check in. You are all welcome to contact me via email, phone, mail, passenger pigeon, whatever. Two other quotes I noted from the Symposium I’d like to share: “change is fun; you go first” and “learn to love the doing.” Here’s hoping for a year of fun, daring, and doing!



Jan. 24: Member Appreciation Dinner/Networking Event: F-R-E-E-!

Because we are the amazing San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, we are having a FREE member appreciation dinner and networking event on January 24, 2019!

Dinner, drinks are included, but please RSVP:

Cascal, 400 Castro Street Mountain View, CA 94041

Time: 6 to 9 pm

More details to follow!