SLA 2009: Alignment Project and a New Name for SLA
"This alignment project will not only help refine our current positioning in the marketplace, but provide a framework for discussing the inherent value in the profession and the Association in a clear, compelling and cohesive voice."In a nutshell, SLA's working with international PR firm Fleishman-Hillard, futurist Andy Hines, and information analytics firm Outsell, Inc to get a realistic picture of how our profession is viewed by business leaders and decision makers, and to develop strategies to improve our image and raise our profile.
With the Alignment Project comes the very real likelihood of a name change. According to SLA CEO Janice Lachance, "As SLA enters its second century, it is clear that we are burdened with a name that not only causes confusion but also fails to capture the aspirations of our members."
Research done for the Alignment Project shows that the word "special" is vague and doesn't accurately communicate the value of a librarian. SLA members have been told to expect a vote on a new name sometime over the next year. The Knowledge and Information Specialist Society (KISS), Specialized Librarians and Information Professionals (SLIP), and Global Association of Library and Information Professionals (GALIP) are just a few of the names people are proposing. You can see many of the suggestions at the SLA Alignment wiki.
Personally, I'm all in favour of considering a new name. SLA founder John Cotton Dana himself said that the organization's name "was chosen with some hesitation, and rather in default of a better." I think we can find a name that better represents what we do, and I'm excited to be a part of choosing that name.
The 2009 conference was a great one, and SLA's centennial gave us all the more reason to celebrate our organization's achievements. It's mind-boggling to try to predict what sorts of topics and themes will dominate the annual conference agenda 10 years from now, let alone another 100 - but it's sure neat to imagine.
Stay tuned for summaries of my favourite sessions over the next few days!