Marie Cannon, President of SLA Europe in 2017, reflects on the activities of the European Chapter from the past year.
2017 has been a year of firsts for SLA Europe. We hosted our first webinar, we held our first event in Ireland and we created a new committee focused students and new professionals. One of my objectives as President was to improve the member experience, particularly for those based outside of the UK, and I feel that we have laid some excellent groundwork for this in 2017.
Events and webinars
Back in May we were delighted to sponsor a networking event at the Information Professionals Expo in Dublin. Seema Rampersad, our Membership Chair, was on hand to meet with attendees and to inform them of the many benefits of being a member of a library and information professional organisation and the ways in which people can get involved with SLA Europe; from volunteering to writing blog posts and submitting conference papers. You can read a review of the event here.
The SLA Europe board has worked hard to produce our first webinar. We were pleased to invite Jinfo’s Robin Neidorf to discuss her research into the benchmarking of information centres. We are looking to have a regular feature of ‘Wednesday webinars’, which will hopefully offer SLA members from all over Europe another way of engaging and learning from each other – so please do try and join us at our future webinars. We would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions for webinar topics, so please get in touch via our social media with your ideas and feedback.
We have also held a varied programme of professional development and networking events, which this year included a British Library tour and a panel discussion on the hot topic of fake news, as well as our traditional events such as the Winter Warmer Quiz and the Summer Soiree.
Students and new professionals
Supporting newcomers to the information profession has been a long-standing goal of SLA Europe, as evidenced by our commitment to the Early Career Conference Award (ECCA) programme.
The ECCA assists students and those within the first five years of the profession to attend SLA’s annual conference, which this year was held in Phoenix in the United States. As a previous ECCA winner myself, I was extremely pleased that we were able to support two ECCAs this year, which were co-sponsored by the Legal and Academic Divisions. You can read about Amy and Ruth’s experiences on our blog, and I am pleased to say that both of our ECCA winners have recently joined our committees as SLA Europe volunteers, and my congratulations to Ruth who has recently been elected as the Legal Division’s Chair Elect Elect!
Although it is wonderful to support new professionals with a travel grant to attend the annual conference, there is a lot more that we can do to engage with students and new professionals. To this purpose, we have created a new committee to investigate a formal mentoring scheme, events specifically focused on aiding new professionals, and additional ways in which we can help students and new professionals to develop and engage with the profession. If you would like to get involved with the committee or if you have any ideas, please contact the committee chair Ian O’Leary at Acquire Media, CB Resourcing, Dow Jones and TRG, without whom many of our events in 2017 would not have been possible. Lastly (but certainly not least!) I would like to thank our members for their continued support.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as President of the Chapter and I look forward to supporting SLA Europe’s new President, Katharine Schopflin, in 2018. If you have any further comments or questions please do not hesitate to contact Katharine or myself at blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and on SLA Connect.