SLA Europe 2018 President’s Report

2018 was SLA Europe’s year of listening to members and working to shape ourselves into the world’s best value organisation for information professionals.

Before I outline our main achievements, I must pay tribute to the SLA Europe Board and sub-committees. We simply couldn’t do what we do without them and everything listed below is very much a team effort.

First, this was the year that the Students and New Professionals’ Committee went into action. Our new Chair, Ian O’Leary, and his committee, organised a great inaugural event in May and we continue to listen to early careers professionals to find out what we can do to meet your needs.

Secondly, our monthly webinars started in earnest. These virtual events are freely accessible to everyone and the archive is available to all SLA members via Connect. We now have webinars planned until 2020. Special thanks must go to Amy O’Donohoe for establishing this programme.

Thirdly, we established our committee for a European Conference under joint Chairs John Coll and Niamh Page. In a survey which went out at the end of 2018, we asked you what kind of conference you would like and where you would like it to be. In the next few months, we will start to put a date, place, format and approach in place.

Fourthly, we started to make steps to try and make our face-to-face events more accessible to those not based in London. This is a real challenge as, to make an event attract sponsors, we need a critical mass that is hard to assemble in other cities. Our webinars – including in one case, a live webcast from a London-based event – are part of our efforts in this area. We also offered travel bursaries and a ‘bed for the night’ scheme to help people travel to London.

However, we accept that we need to make a serious effort to move outside our geographical comfort zone. We held events in Dublin and Edinburgh and, depending on the survey results, we expect the European Conference to be held outside London. Would you like to host an event in your city? We’re happy to offer help, publicity and potentially funding if you want to make an event happen.

Simon Burton

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