Category Archives: Marketing

Putting knowledge to work — skills and experience learned through real life SLA activities

One of the tag lines used in the past for the Special Libraries Association has been “Putting Knowledge to Work”.
This year SLA had an in-person leadership summit in January in New Orleans that by all accounts was a valuable experience for the attendees. While I am currently president-elect of the Southern California Chapter of SLA and this would have been an appropriate meeting to attend, I was already committed to too many other things at the home base and could not take the time or expense. More on that shortly. That being said, I am very glad others were able to take advantage of the opportunity to gain leadership training and commiserate with colleagues.

So, why was I not there? I was “putting knowledge to work”. This year I am a co-host to a very important international meeting of approximately 40 librarians and other representatives of the Biodiversity Heritage Library partners. The event is happening in mid-March and I need to use all energies toward this effort as well as keeping things going in my daily work responsibilities as a solo librarian in a very busy institution. I plan to do some reflection on this whole process after the event is done.

Requirements for the meeting includes gaining senior management commitment to the event, collaborating with colleagues, arranging and scheduling facilities, contracting with vendors for catering, negotiating funding, and so much more. Having had many opportunities to do these tasks over the years as part of leadership opportunities in SLA, I knew I could put this knowledge to work. I have had training and learning opportunities in various jobs and other associations, but not as much as through my involvement in SLA.

So, in short, I wasn’t at the SLA Leadership Summit because I was using the skills and experience from SLA and needed to focus on details at home base. I do plan to attend the Leadership Summit next year and encourage others to do as well whether they are an elected, appointed, or aspiring leader.

Holding tablet while giving a presentation isn’t creative

Anyone who knows me knows I enjoy technology though I’m not as early an adapter as others who must have the latest thing the day it is available. However, lately I’ve seen more people speak in front of an audience without a podium or table holding onto their iPads or equivalent tablets. Last week I heard a talk by an author about creativity and the only thing ‘creative’ was he read notes and excerpts from his book off his tablet holding it awkwardly on his forearm. If the tablet is being used to its potential to access interesting apps to show or other uses, great. But if it is only a replacement for simple index cards or similar ‘old fashioned notes’ vehicle, what are you trying to convey? OK, I get it, you have the latest gadget, it cost a bunch of money, maybe you want to write it off as a business expense, and at the very least want to show it off. However, that in itself is not creative or practical. It also looks quite awkward and the audience is waiting for it to careen off your forearm and crash onto the floor.
Let’s think about the tools we use, how we use them, and what impression we want to give to those viewing our use. Sometimes we get it right, but more and more people get it wrong. Let’s not be those latter people!