Special Libraries Association Getting Ready for Name Change

Many readers of Slaw.ca are members of or are familiar with the Special Libraries Association (SLA). SLA was founded in New York in 1909, and now includes thousands of information professionals from eighty countries. It covers a range of interests and professionals in a range of positions and organizations, and includes a Legal Division.

Over the past two years SLA has been working on its Alignment Project, to better strategically align the Association with the needs of its members and the organizations the members represent. Part of this work has included a new name for the Association. The name “special libraries” no longer captures the range of work done by its members. In an SLA Alignment Update by SLA President Gloria Zamora for the August issue of SciTech News she says this is really a “game change” and not just a name change. She says:

I want to stress that we, the Board and staff, have not entered into this decision lightly. We have reviewed the research, and we have listened to members who are reading the alignment research—members who have asked us if we intend to go down the path indicated by the research. We are convinced that our association will be stronger and will provide a better service to our members with a new name that indicates the knowledge and value that our members provide to their organizations. This is about a bigger tent, more inclusion and seeking to provide an organization that is diverse and includes professionals who are in the business of providing information but who may not see themselves in the “special libraries” association.

Through focus groups of business people and C-level executives as well as members over the past year, the following words have been determined to embody the values the Association believes it should possess:

• Knowledge
• Strategic
• International
• Advantage
• Insight
• Association
• Professional

Last week the SLA Board voted on a new name which will be revealed to members this coming week. Members will then need to vote on the proposed new name.

For those who would like to search for or discuss the SLA name change and alignment project on Twitter, the tags are #slaname and #sla2010.

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