Question #2: When did you first join SLA? What made you decide to join then, and why do you still belong today?
(Kama Siegel, candidate for Chapter Cabinet-Elect)
I first joined SLA as a student, oh probably around 2003 or 2004. I was a distance-only student at Drexel, and I didn't really have a community of peers in Portland. I knew a few Emporia and UW students, but they seemed just as lost as I was, as far as how "real" librarians get together. I figured the best way to get connected -- not only to other students, but also to professionals -- would be to join some sort of organization. I wasn't interested in working at a public library, and while I still wasn't sure about academic libraries, I was already working at a law firm. The librarian at that firm suggested that I join both SLA and AALL, and so I did (hi, Laurie!).
Another reason I joined as a student is because a career change is difficult enough, but especially if you don't know what you're doing. The folks I met through SLA were not only welcoming, but also had great ideas about how to network, where to look for jobs, and how to connect with the larger community of information professionals.
I still belong because of the incredibly valuable connections I have made. I feel kinship with information professionals from all over the world. Additionally, I have forged relationships with vendors or their representatives, which often enables our chapter to offer that extra professional development or student event, or provides us with new ways of looking at resources.
I still belong so that we can reach out to those beyond our little circle of "informeds." I think about when I was a student and I don't ever want someone to be unaware of his or her organizational options. I am so proud to serve on an ORSLA Board that has worked very hard to communicate with non-members, non-info pros and students. When we see new faces at our events, and get positive feedback about our efforts, it makes us feel that we're on the right track.