Question #5: SLA is an international organization. How can SLA involve and reach out more to members outside of North America?
Joy M. Banks, Candidate for Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect
This is an interesting question, and one with which I have been dealing for the last year and a half as a part of the board for the Florida & Caribbean chapter of SLA. As part of our participation in the SLA Loyalty Pilot Project, we have been working on trying to engage all of our remote members, including those members we have on many Caribbean islands. One thing I know for sure: engagement of remote members at any distance is neither an easy task nor one that will be solved overnight.
There are several key elements that I believe are needed to involve and reach out to all of our remote members. The first is to recognize that we are all international members of the same organization. The benefits of improved programming, stronger regional chapters, and better online infrastructure will help us all. Some of our fastest growing chapters are outside of North America while inside of North America many chapters are struggling to survive.
After embracing our international scope, we can forge ahead, influencing the information profession on a global scale. Active communication between the Board, Headquarters, and the various units will help us all feel more connected. Collaborating with other international organizations to maximize our visibility and communicate our value to other professional groups will help us reinvigorate our purpose. Increasing web based offerings, both live and recorded, will help all of our members access the valuable continuing education we already offer. Finally, offering online resources in multiple languages would allow our members more meaningful access to SLA’s many benefits.
None of this can be accomplished by the Board alone, though. Stronger chapters and divisions will help, but the key is active engagement of members at all levels. Members investing in their own professional organization, and a Board that encourages them to do so, will truly make SLA not only an international organization but also a world-class association.