Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some notes from the SLA Leadership Summit

These are some of the short choppy notes that I took at the SLA Leadership Summit a little while back. It was in St. Louis, January 27-30th.

Alignment Session

SLA will be working on a new mission vision and values statements.
Proposed mission statement is pretty long.
We will probably have a new tag line.
SLA will recommend that units create uniform visual identity and use common language.
Right now, each division and chapter has a different brand and logo.
Common templates could be used by units.
Tell members they can clean up their membership records at sla hq.
Don't facilitate, educate.
Don't create an action plan, create a success plan.
What is our core story?

James Kane Presentation

His presentation slides can be found here. He said, "Please feel free to share the booklet with your fellow SLA members who were not at the Summit or with anyone in your own organizations." The presentation is copyrighted by James Kane.

How do most patrons view their relationship with the library? Do they go to the library for a transaction, because they are predisposed to visit the library or are they loyal to the library?

Some may see the library as an antagonistic place. They have to go there to get the info, but they would rather not. James has to fly US Airways even though he would rather not. That is an example of an antagonistic relationship.

Here are the levels of relationship types.
  • Loyal
  • Predisposed
  • Transactional
  • Antagonistic
How do you make the patron's life better, not just satisfied. Dogs are loyal, cats are satisfied. Cats are happy they got fed, and that is it. Satisfaction is a mood, loyalty is a behavior. Loyalty is what they do for you. Librarians try to measure patron satisfaction. Just because patrons are satisfied does not mean that they are loyal or even predisposed to use your services.

Three things in the brain: Trust, sense of belonging and sense of purpose.

Expected foundation: Competence, capacity to serve, high character, and moral on a consistent basis. Purpose: vision, fellowship and commitment.

Patrons need to feel a sense of belonging.
  1. Recognition: patron recognition. We should know the name of the patron and care about what the patron likes. Set up search alerts to see what people are saying about your library on twitter, and elsewhere..
  2. Insight:
  3. Proactivity: the library should solve their problems ahead of time. Librarians are appointments in the patrons life. He told the story of a flower shop that helped deliver a present to a friend/relative in the nick of time. Eleven months later, he got a reminder of the person's birthday. People and organizations that help others remember stuff are invaluable.
  4. Identity: Share parts of yourself.
  5. Inclusion: People like to be asked to be included. This is true in decision making and in a decision making process. Sometimes, a leader needs to make a decision that is not popular with a group, but the leader should make the decision with input.
Amazon is a good example of a company that has many of these traits. The website recognizes the person when they come back. They recommend another book based on past purchases or page views. They allow any kind of review to be posted to the website. The transparency of allowing all reviews is good.


If a loyal relationship goes bad, it goes straight to antagonistic. Patrons really need for someone to listen to them. We want our patrons to be loyal to us, but they might view the library as a
transactional relationship or even an antagonistic relationship, and that is ok.

Discussion of the "First five years" Program.

What do young and/or new SLA members want? The presenters found they want f
ree or low cost webinars for new members. Some topics are:
  • Project management skills
  • Salary negotiation
  • Networking
  • General management skills
  • Understanding different business cases
Ideas for Chapter events:

Membership campaign
Receptions and keep names of attendees. 31 events in NY chapter last year. Many no RSVP needed.
Good person needs to be a membership chair. Set targets. New member receptions. Note first time attendace on a sheet have new member greeters at events.
Find out which colleagues are not members and get them involved.
Library school. The speaker needs to be enthusiastic. Note the concrete benefits for students.
SLA is your personal prof development organization.
Learn networking and negotiation skills.
Have programs just for new information professionals.
Create a position called the "career guidance chair".
Free student membership awards for some students. Have that sponsored by a local information organization.
Have a student group career day and provide tours for local LIS students.
When you have events, make sure they are reduced cost or free for LIS students
Make a point at meetings to walk up and talk to people you don't know.
Invite the student chapter president to come to chapter meetings.
Free membership draw for student membership.
Provide travel awards to the SLA annual conference for recent grads.
Pub nights for new and student members (or a library crawl).
Nomination process. Start early. Invite them to serve on committees.
Encourage people to believe in themselves. This will bolster their confidence.
Other people will help them be successful.
Communicate what you enjoy about being on the board, chair, secretary, etc.
SLA provides great friendships and a reason for travel.
People who get involved will get more confidence with public speaking and running meetings.
Open and transparent in the nomination process. Members may not understand the process, that self-nominations are ok.
Give them tasks they can accomplish.
Trust in their ability, give them freedom to use their creativity.
Leigh-"It is exciting to be on the lookout for leaders of the future."
Need generational balance.
Students want to find jobs! Focus on resume skills.
New members can use the SLA directory for informational interviews.
New members are not just younger.
How do we involve the distance students?
Need to be creative with online networking.
Mentoring program. Conference buddy.
Fostering relationships.
Newcomers lunch.
Call, make a personal call, not just an email.

Merging Chapters and Creating New Divisions

PA Chapters -- they used surveymonkey for the vote. Have meeting at various days and times, meetings all day or baseball games or in evenings, Phily. Vary the locations. Allow for some distance attendance with audio and web connectivity. The Hershy, PA meeting was popular. Problems -- Speaker phone in the room was not good.

Michigan -- Western Chapter merged with the rest of MI.
Have a merger historian?

Academic Division -- It all began as an idea in a bar in 2006. Stacey Greenwell began the formal process in Spring 2008. Process was easy. Took abut 6 months to write up the scope note and get officers. 100 signatures. Unique scope. They used social media for input. Lots of talking and discussion. Followed procedure to the letter.

Ok, the new division is approved -- Now you need a discussion list, bank account, etc. They plan to publish a journal that is peer reviewed, Practical Academic Librarianship. Have 400+ members. Takes funding to do the programs. New sponsors are tough to get in this market. Great things are coming in New Orleans.

Marjorie Hlava -- Taxonomy division -- She mentions the website and the wiki. They now have 127 members. Reached out to the leadership list. The new division will benefit sla. Taxonomy is a growing field. They were able to involve some of the vendors and exhibitors. The division cabinet chair resolved many of the issues and problems. Need to allow greater official discussions with multiple divisions. Will reach out to propsective members beyond librarians. The profession is changing not dying, we must change with it. Technology changes every 3 yrs. Taxonomy is a vibrant and exciting area.


Bethan Ruddock said...

Thanks for posting these Joe - it's great to get an insight into what was being talked about, and it gives me some things to think about before New Orleans!

Unknown said...

Thanks for summarizing my presentation at the SLA Leadership Summit, Joe. You guys were a great audience an I hope the information is helpful. If you or your readers have any questions about the presentation or about specific loyalty issues they are having, please forward me the posts and I will be happy to answer them.

One other thing. I noticed in your post Membership Campaign ideas. I didn't have time to talk about this in my speech to all of you, but there is a process that humans follow when developing relationships with others - whether it be in a romantic way that ends with love, or in a professional way that ends with loyalty. I probably can’t describe it in one post, but I will post a second if it is too long.


Unknown said...

The 3 stages of a Relationship

1. Attraction - this is that instantaneous judgement we make about someone or some thing the second we see them. It is not logical or emotional, but rather the result of an aesthetic framework that was shaped by our upbringing. In your personal life, this equates to spotting someone from across the room and instantly being attracted to them. It isn't always a physical thing, but you get the point. In a professional environment, this first stage, Attraction is equivalent to sales and marketing and membership campaigns. People will look at what you are offering or what you look like as an organization and seek things that they find attractive. It is not emotional or logical, just a visceral feeling they have where they feel comfortable and attracted to what they see. If you are trying to attract someone, you need to first understand what they are looking for and make sure you put that on display. It doesn't mean that they won't come to love all the other parts of you or your organization, it just means in that first stage they are relying on what they know and what they are familiar with. Keep that in mind when developing membership campaign ideas.

2. Passion - Passion is the stage that occurs after the initial attraction. It is that early period in a relationship (the length of time varies) when everything looks and feels fantastic. They funny thing about the passion stage is that things aren't always what they appear to be. In a romantic relationship, it is that time when we are willing to overlook all of the flaws and annoying habits the other person has because we are just happy to be in a relationship or because we have a specific objective in mind. It could be marriage, it could be sex, it could be the comfort of knowing you have a date for Valentine's Day. You ignore the fact they they eat with their fingers, have a terrible laugh, or never read The Catcher in the Rye. All because you either want something out of the relationship or because you don't want to admit that you made a bad choice. In a professional environment, the Passion stage occurs in the first few months or even year of the relationship. (Again, the length of time can vary, much the way it does in a romantic relationship). During that time, the relationship needs to be handled very differently. Your new members, still wide-eyed and passionate of this new organization they joined, need more attention and need to be fussed over and their flaws and annoyances have to be ignored, just as they are ignoring their likely discovery that your organization is not all they thought it would be. Keeping that passion alive is what keeps your members engaged and participating, especially in those early months and years.

3. Pair Bonding - The final stage of a relationship is pair bonding. This is when the attraction becomes less important and the passion is all but gone, but the relationship stays together because each person offers something that the other couldn't do on their own. They each make their lives better and easier. You can cook, I can't. You can hunt, I can't. You and take care of our children, I can't. This is part of our evolutionary development. In a romantic way, it is why we marry and stay together for (hopefully) the rest of our lives. Our needs, desires and expectations are very different than they were during the Attraction and Passion stages, The same is true in our professional lives. Loyalty occurs in the Pair Bonding stage and the way you treat and interact with long term members needs to be VERY different than those you are trying to attract and those who are in that early Passion stage. Pair bonding is an equal exchange where each party makes the other's life easier and better. If your organization isn't doing that for its long-term members - if it isn't making their life easier and better - than they have no reason to stay in the relationship and will start to drift away or seek someone or something else that does fulfill their needs.

Unknown said...

Sorry for the long post, but I hope that helps you and your peers develop membership and retention strategies and how to keep your members engaged. Just think of your personal life and you will find the parallels.

Thanks again, Joe and good luck!