The Association -The fact that the economic turmoil of the last two years had affected the Association was discussed at several sessions. Dan Trefethen, SLA's treasurer, provided an overview of the organization's financial situation at the Closing General Session and gave enough detail to make the current situation very real. The current Board of Directors and Association staff have been working to put SLA in better financial shape, and that work will continue. It was stressed that this is a time of charge for the Association. Clearly we cannot continue to do all of the same things that we do now and in the same way. Someone said that "everything is on the table" for discussion, review, re-thinking, etc.
Addendum (6/18/2010): A few things that I forgot to mention. First, the number of Association members now stands at ~9,700. Yes, this is less than last year and likely due to a number of factors including the economy.
Second, historically, the Association has relied on dues, sponsorships and revenue from the Annual Conference to cover its operating expenses. That three-prong approach no longer works, given the current economic realities. How SLA funds its activities will need to change.
Third, no matter what dues category a member is in, each member receives $600/year of benefits from SLA. No member pays in dues enough to cover his or her benefits from the Association. That additional money must come from somewhere.
Finally, in the last year, the Association staff has decreased by nearly 30% due to staff reductions and attrition. If you haven't noticed a negative change in service, that is because the staff is working hard to keep everything running as members expect.
Given the state of other organizations, this news was likely not a surprise. It did provide fuel for interesting conversations over meals and in the hallways...and all of those conversations will increase over the coming months.
By the way, Dennie Heye did a quick interview (mp3) with SLA CEO Janice LaChance where she talked about the work the Association has ahead of it.
The Video - All of the Board of Director candidates were video recorded answering the question:
SLA celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. How does SLA help its members become essential in the new knowledge economy?We each at 2 minutes (max) for our reply. If you're curious, you can view mine below.
SLA Kentucky Chapter -While I am a member of the Upstate New Chapter of SLA, I have built friendships with members of the Kentucky Chapter. Like angels, members of the Kentucky Chapter have taken many people under their wings and offered their hospitality irrespective of the conference location or time of day. If you ever get a chance to hang out with Chapter members, take it! You will not be disappointed.