2014 Conference/Expo Preview: SLA President-Elect Jill Strand Keynote Address: “Be Revolutionary: Taking It to the Next Level with Our Profession & Association”

By Wendy Ball

This is one of three articles previewing SLA NY’s September 18th Conference and Expo at Baruch’s Vertical Campus. The other two can be found here and here. More information about the event, including how to register, can be found hereFollow @SLANewYork and #SLANY for news and updates!

An important part of the role of SLA President is to assess annually the ever-changing environment in which the SLA functions and to approve the association’s strategy in relation to it.

As President-Elect Jill Strand prepares to take over in in January 2015, she continues to study the evolving nature of the jobs and professionals that make up the world of library and information science and services, paying special attention to the role of SLA within that context. In her keynote speech at SLA NY’s inaugural conference and expo, entitled “Be Revolutionary: Taking It to the Next Level with Our Profession and Association,” Strand will explore key highlights and findings from the recent IFLA Trend Report and SLA/Financial Times Survey, framing her talk in terms of SLA national’s involvement in the continuously developing field and what that means for local chapters.

The day-long event, to be held at Baruch College’s Vertical Campus on September 18th, will serve as a great opportunity for members and non-members in the New York metro area to take part in intensive professional development and convivial networking while hearing SLA national leadership’s thoughts and observations up-close.

President Elect Strand has studied the evolving nature of LIS professions and the important role of LIS professionals today in preparation for her new post. SLA New York is pleased to announce that Jill will explore key highlights and findings from the IFLA Trend Report and SLA/Financial Times Survey in her Keynote Address at the Chapter’s inaugural Conference & Expo, which will take place on Thursday, September 18th at the Baruch College Vertical Campus. This day-long event will be a great opportunity for members and non-members in the New York metro area to not only have a vehicle for intensive professional development but also to hear from SLA national leadership about high level observations regarding changes in the information services landscape. Jill’s keynote address will open the conference and issue the charge for us to “Be Revolutionary: Taking It to the Next Level with Our Profession & Association.”

In her professional role as Director of Knowledge Management at Maslon, Edelman, Borman and Brand LLP, a leading commercial law and litigation firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jill has experienced firsthand the demands for greater technical skills in the workplace. In that capacity, she has further gained invaluable experience regarding the need to use information tools and technologies in ways that facilitate collaborative relationships and knowledge sharing. Strand understands the need to articulate and clarify our indispensability as LIS professionals: her experience speaks to the importance of establishing ourselves as stewards of the information necessary for effective decision-making in the marketplace and within our own organizations. Through her professional experiences and high-level participation in SLA, Jill plans to re-envision the role of the information professional against the backdrop of a society where information literacy skills will be prized, formal and informal learning resources will abound, and privacy and big data need to managed.

At the heart of re-envisioning our positions is the fast pace of change in the global information environment. The volume of information and the speed at which it is created has fundamental implications for the new roles, skills, and competencies that will be required for information professionals and which also impact the focus and direction of SLA. As Strand sees it, the five key trends and issues with which we must grapple are:

  1. New technologies that both expand and limit who has access to information
  2. Online education that democratizes and disrupts global learning
  3. The redefinition of boundaries around privacy and data protection
  4. Hyper-connected societies empowering new voices and groups
  5. Hyper-connected devices disrupting and transforming the information economy

Within this context, Jill will speak about the evolution of information professions in recent years, from inward-looking technical experts to outward-looking, client-centric facilitators, basing her observations on findings from recent research compiled by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), partner studies from SLA and the Financial Times, and special libraries associations in Australia. Finally, she’ll identify the unique skills that LIS professionals bring to their organizations and how SLA can help them effectively showcase those skills.

Here are a few takeaways from Jill’s previewed keynote for information professionals at all career stages:

  • An understanding of industry trends and key competencies needed to succeed
  • High-level and compelling articulation of our unique skill sets
  • An actionable framework for the information function in any organization
  • Strategic & proactive thinking about value we offer today
  • How SLA can be an important part of your professional toolkit; a “sandbox” for learning and career growth.

These are exciting developments for the profession. We hope that you will join us at the SLA New York Conference and Expo to hear Jill Strand first hand, as well as other top experts in social media and professional development.

Registration opened on June 17 and will continue until all slots are filled.