My Chicago SLA Days, Part One
This year’s SLA/Special Libraries Association annual conference in Chicago is now complete. Although attendance appeared to be down from last year, it was still a great experience: a nonstop opportunity for networking and learning. It was also a special occasion for me, as I was honored to receive the Rose L. Vormelker Award “…for exceptional service to the information profession through the education and mentoring of students and working professionals.”
The conference took place in the middle of the semester for the course I teach as an adjunct professor at the Catholic University of America School of Library and Information Science, The Special Library/Information Center. There are two classes (3 hours, 20 minutes each) per week for six weeks; Gretchen Sauvey of the United States Institute of Peace pinch-hit to teach the class for me on Monday, but I left the conference a day early, on Tuesday afternoon, to return to Washington for Wednesday’s class.
There was a nice symmetry to the fact that my co-honoree was Denise Callihan of PPG Industries, in Pittsburgh. We’ve been friends since we met at the 2006 conference in Baltimore, through one of my favorite networking strategies at conferences: intentionally sitting at a lunch table with people I’ve never met before.
SLA conferences are great for serendipity. While standing in the Social Media Lounge, sponsored by ProQuest/Dialog, I watched a brief video about the 2012 Roger K. Summit Scholarship being awarded to Elliott Hauser. It was a conversation between Summit, a legend in the world of information as the founder of Dialog, and Hauser, a Ph.D. student studying information science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Suddenly Summit himself, whom I had not met before, appeared at my side and started talking to me about the video. That’s the kind of unique experience that is all the more satisfying because it can’t be planned.
Along with Summit, I met many other highly interesting people this year at SLA. I will post again soon about my impressions of the conference sessions and the INFO-EXPO.