Magazine article Information Outlook

22 Years of Putting Knowledge to Work[R]

Magazine article Information Outlook

22 Years of Putting Knowledge to Work[R]

Article excerpt

SLA is an institution that has been blessed with a long line of remarkable leaders who have had clarity of vision, courage of conviction, and the skill to devise the critical strategies that will make that vision a reality. This June, SLA says farewell to one of those leaders, Dr. David Bender, the unifying presence that has moved SLA forward over the last 22 years. During this period he has been an invaluable partner who provided the continuity and a growing institutional memory that has enabled SLA's elected leadership to chart a steady course in a rapidly changing environment.

David Bender will be remembered as a constant in a period of remarkable change. When he joined SLA in 1979, our membership worked in a far different world. Databases were a relatively new phenomena. There was no Internet, no CD-ROMs, no networked environments, portals, or knowledge management workshops. Members usually worked in physical spaces called libraries or information centers, and conferences warned that the information revolution was coming some day.

Our association had approximately 10,900 members, and its nine staff were crowded into a tiny rented space in New York City. SLA operated on a $726,000 budget with no reserve funds and minimal fund-raising activities.

Today our association owns its building in Washington, D.C., and has a budget of $8,100,000 that includes several endowment funds. It has reserves to help guarantee our future should we face a rough financial road. It has developed critical partnerships with vendors and coalitions of interest groups. It has a government relations program to educate policymakers on issues of critical importance to the profession and a Website that provides 24/7 access to members needing to conduct business with their association. The membership has grown to 13,200 and has grown from 49 to 57 chapters. …

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