We just received word about the outcome of the vote on the proposal to change the name of Special Libraries Association (SLA) to the Association for Stategic Knowledge Professionals. The name change proposal stemmed from the findings of the Alignment Project, an intensive two year research effort aimed at understanding the value of the information and knowledge professionals in todays environment and how to communicate that value.
Although not a member of SLA, I have followed developments related to this issue on the SLA listserv and have been very impressed with both the dedication and passion exhibited by the SLA membership.
As for the outcome, I think this is good news. As a professional librarian (an information and knowledge professional) I am very concerned about libraries and librarianship being viable now and remaining so in the future. An important part of that viability, it seems to me, relates to the essential need for libraries and librarians to maintain a clear identity as the preeminent information and knowledge professionals in the world, both now and in the future. There is a danger that proposals such as the one we are discussing here will, if ratified, result in a dilution of that identity and by extension diminish the perceived value of librararies and librarians (whatever their names) in the marketplace as compared to other organizations and occupations that are somewhat comparable. I commend the SLA membership for its decision.
Here is a note from SLA Headquarters concerning the outcome of the vote of the SLA membership:
SLA Name Will Stay: Alignment of Association to Continue
Alexandria, Virginia, December 10, 2009- The Special Libraries Association (SLA) announced the results of its association-wide vote on a new name today. Voting in record numbers, SLA members failed to approve a proposal to change the organizationâ€™s name to the Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals. 50 percent of those members eligible to vote participated in the referendum, with 2071 voting yes and 3225 voting no.
The active discussions, online and in local meetings, are a testament to the passion and commitment that knowledge and information professionals feel towards their association and their profession, said Gloria Zamora, SLA 2009 President. This level of engagement will help make SLA and its members more effective advocates for the information profession in the years ahead.
The name change proposal stemmed from the findings of the Alignment Project, an intensive two-year research effort aimed at understanding the value of the information and knowledge professional in today’s marketplace and how to best communicate that value. Our name will remain, Zamora continued, but we will go forward with developing opportunities for our members to use the Alignment findings to demonstrate their contributions to the organizations that employ them.
Information and knowledge professionals are critical assets to the organizations that employ them, yet their contributions and capabilities are too often underestimated,â€ said SLA CEO Janice R. Lachance. The findings of the Alignment Project research will guide SLA in developing services and programs that will more successfully position these professionals in the marketplace and attract the recognition and compensation they deserve.
The Special Libraries Association (SLA) is a nonprofit global organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners. SLA serves about 11,000 members in 75 countries in the information profession, including corporate, academic, and government information specialists. SLA promotes and strengthens its members through learning, advocacy, and networking initiatives. For more information, visit us on the Web at www.sla.org.