Back in my first week at SLIS in '98 I learned about the importance of the alphabet soup that is the library association landscape from Dr Altmann in LIS 501. I learned that such bodies help create the professional infrastructure of Library work, and being involved would be an important part of developing as an individual in the context of the larger community. After all, 2 years in library school is only the tip of the ice berg of a life in Librarianship. Learning would be part of our futures.
It made sense to me that if such bodies were in the position to influence any aspect of my Librarian life then I should join.
My reasoning was quite simple: I tend to speak up when I have some thing to say; but I know that just because I have something to say doesn't mean I will be heard; being heard is more likely if I am a member of the group I want to engage with.
So I joined Canadian Library Association in my first week of school, because it was clear to me that a national Association is important in a different way than provincial, regional or type of practice focused associations.
Well, I can say after 3 years now on the CLA Executive Council, and the past year and change working on the CLA restructuring, have exponentially reinforced my initial perspective. The fact is, the Canadian Library Association is essential on so many levels; not just to the libraries and those who work in them, but to the millions of Canadians who use and rely on libraries of all kinds to support them in their hunt for knowledge.
As per the published timeline (CLA Future) the Executive Council is in the process of reviewing the resolutions that will bring the new structure into being. Moving forward from our crisis moment last year, to developing the plan and now seeing it as a codified, structured set of governance documents is the result of a lot of hard, emotionally exhausting work.
It has been worth it.
The new structure is flexible, and respectful of CLA's history and traditions. It creates multiple new avenues for engagement and participation. The opportunities for knowledge sharing and mentorship in the context of important Association work will grow.
I look forward to the AGM in Halifax CLA Conference and am confident the plan will be adopted. And then, we will collectively learn what the future can be.
After all, CLA is about people coming together to work towards shared goals; names of our sub-groups have changed and disappeared over the years, but the people and the work continue.
I am proud to have made the decision to join CLA back in 1998. I am proud to have attended a school that continues to advocate for association involvement. The library landscape in Canada needs vibrant associations and passionate volunteers.
Can you help?