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SLA Toronto/T-SLIS Blue Winter Article Club Night

SLA Toronto/T-SLIS Blue Winter Article Club Night at the Dora Keogh pubThe SLA Facebook page for the Blue Winter Article Club describes January as a cold and dreary month, and true to form, this past month’s event featured rain and a notable subway delay that either trapped a few attendees underground or forced them to walk from their downtown offices to the Dora Keogh pub. So it was a relief to enter the Dora and see the faces of fellow SLA members ready to discuss the merits of two pre-selected articles. It was a casual debate—no timers, or taking turns—however it was an energetic night with many participants.

The articles that inspired the discussion were taken from and the New York Times. The first, “Don’t Support Your Local Bookseller: Buying books on Amazon is better for authors, better for the economy, and better for you” dominated the discussion, and celebrates’s dedication to providing affordable books. The author argues that this provides more opportunity for reading to occur, and that it’s an improvement on local bookstores whose stock is often limited or available at higher costs. This generated a wide variety of responses, and was the most controversial topic of the night.

The second article, “Publishers vs. Libraries: An E-Book Tug-of-War”, from the New York Times, outlined the struggle between libraries and publishers over the lending of e-books, with publishers fearing that easy lending will lead to a drastic loss in profits. Due to the ease of use, trips to the library aren’t required, and publishers fear that there is less of an incentive for e-book readers to choose to purchase items over downloading them from the library. Several large publishing companies have combated this by refusing to lend their material or by limiting library-lending licenses to a certain number of copies, while smaller publishers generally give libraries the rights to lend their items. As this is a relatively recent concern, libraries and publishers continue to search for equally acceptable solutions.

Those in attendance were quick to personalize the discussion. One attendee shared her search to find an e-book provider that stocked the books her clients requested. Another pointed out the similarities between the community building services offered by local bookstores and those offered by libraries such as author readings and book clubs. While a number of attendees chimed in to talk about the wide variety of books to purchase online versus their local bookstore, many mentioned that as voracious young readers they would have loved an service to make books more readily available. Not surprisingly, many of those in attendance were in favor of giving readers greater opportunity to access books, whether through lower prices or in a library setting.

The first Blue Winter Article Club was a successful social evening for SLA members. Any opportunity to connect with other librarians is a welcome one, especially during the winter months, an
d as the night drifted to a close and the attendees set out back into the rain there was a palpable sense of community on the journey home.

— Erica Smith
Index & References Officer, Hansard Reporting & Interpretations Services, Legislative Assembly of Ontario

Posted in The Courier, V49-N2-Winter 2012, Volume 49Comments (0)

SLA 2012: Practising Agility in an Open World Economy

All eyes and ears will be on Chicago from July 15 to 18 when SLA holds its annual conference at McCormick Place. All educational sessions have been planned around this year’s theme which is  “Practising Agility in an Open World Economy”. In addition to the educational sessions there will be networking events and opportunities to learn more about SLA and its future direction.

Why attend SLA Annual Conference? Because SLA offers the best opportunities for education, networking, and leadership. The take-aways from the SLA conference will add value to you as an information professional, provide you with resources to enhance your job performance, and ensure that you are ready to meet the challenges of the future.

The conference runs for five days. Saturday and Sunday are the days when the Continuing Education (CE) courses are held, the division boards meet, and the INFO/EXPO opens to conference attendees. It is also an excellent time for networking, whether informally in the INFO/EXPO hall, or over coffee or lunch or at one of the many open houses that take place each evening. The official conference opening will take place on Sunday afternoon with a keynote speaker and remarks by SLA president Brent Mai. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are packed with educational sessions that are put on by the divisions. While there isn’t space to list all of them I would like to highlight a few as follows:

• The Wikileaks Controversy
• The New Knowledge Services: Next Steps for Career Professionals
• Transitioning into Management and Leadership
• Meaningful Measures: How do Buyers and Sellers Show ROI?
• Updates from the World of Cloud Computing
• Reinventing Library Skills
• From Info Pro to Info Hero: Five Easy Ways to Turn Information into Insight
• Knowledge is Power: Medical Librarians and KM
• Tales from the Trenches: Contract Negotiation is not for the Faint of Heart
• Librarian as Entrepreneur: Adding Value and Contributing to Your Organization’s Bottom Line Through Marketing Initiatives
• Favourite CI Analytic Tools that Deliver Value
• Skeptical Knowledge Seeking: Business Research in the Age of “Truthiness”
• Suddenly Solo: What To Do When It’s Suddenly Just You
• Competitive Intelligence: Identifying, Managing, Disseminating and Leveraging Reliable, Current, Actionable Knowledge
• Techzones, which are programs which explore the latest technologies and help SLA members to develop their skills in this area

One way to capitalize on networking and education, as well as good food at a reasonable cost, is to attend one of the breakfast meetings. The cost is usually quite reasonable and the events include a speaker as well as the chance to meet colleagues with similar interests.

Conference registration includes access to all non-ticketed events (which includes most of the educational sessions, the INFO/EXPO, and the opening and closing sessions) and most of the open houses. There are additional fees for Continuing Education programs, ticketed meal events and tours, although these prices are usually quite reasonable.

The Toronto Chapter usually sends a strong contingent to the conference and we want to encourage everyone to make plans to attend this year. Whether it is your first SLA conference or you are a veteran you will find something to make the trip worthwhile.

Registration opens on February 27th and the early bird rates will be in effect until early May. Don’t delay—register today and we will look forward to welcoming you to Chicago in July!

— Martha Foote
Toronto Chapter, Legal Division, Leadership & Management Division

Posted in The Courier, V49-N2-Winter 2012, Volume 49Comments (0)

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