Thank you very much everyone…and thank you Rebecca for that very nice introduction. How are you enjoying the conference so far? We have had some outstanding sessions and networking opportunities and I want to thank you for your involvement and participation in making them so successful and so much fun I also would like to take a moment to thank this year’s Conference Planning Committee…Chaired by Brent Mai and Ty Webb. In addition… I want to thank the Local Arrangements Committee… the Division Planners…and everyone else who has worked so hard to make this event a success. I also want to acknowledge the wonderful staff who work year-round to make these conferences successful…Kristin Foldvik… DeVonne Henry…and Akisha Edogun. Thanks to all of those involved in planning this event. I am extremely pleased to tell you attendance for the conference is over five thousand AND we have a representative from every chapter around the globe taking part in this year’s event. I am also pleased to tell you that the INFO-EXPO is completely and totally sold-out with a total of 275 Exhibitors and 445 booths. Congratulations to all of you on a job well done! When the theme of this year’s conference…”Climbing to New Heights”…was first proposed... it resonated with me immediately. This theme is certainly appropriate ...surrounded as we are by one the most spectacular and awe inspiring mountain ranges anywhere in the world. But that was not the reason. Rather…it is a metaphor that reflects quite accurately the imperative of each and every librarian and information professional in today’s rapidly changing information industry. By that I mean…the need for you to elevate your individual stature and that of the profession as a way to thrive in an increasingly competitive world. The theme “Climbing to New Heights” also implies an undeniable truth. You cannot climb to new heights without flexibility and an element of risk. Let me say that again. You cannot reach new heights without a measure of risk. I am…of course…talking about calculated risk which is very different from recklessness. Believe me when I say… there may be old mountain climbers and there may be reckless mountain climbers…but there are no OLD…RECKLESS mountain climbers. Risk is undertaken only after serious thought and careful planning intended to achieve a goal in an often uncertain or hostile environment…an environment that can challenge our thinking and test our limits. And like it or not…risk is exactly what is needed to keep up with the breathtaking pace of change taking place in the information industry today. It is change driven largely by the power of technology in an emerging worldwide digital economy. Blogs…wikis…Podcasts…search engines…social networking sites such as YouTube and MySpace…and even virtual worlds such as Second Life…are redefining the ways we live and work. Whether at work…home…or on the go…prosumers…those who both use and provide content online…are reshaping the way information is …gathered …managed…and used in the Web 2.0 and soon, 3.0 world. Is it any wonder then that all of this change is having a direct and personal impact on each and every one of us in this room? Change is redefining the roles of information professionals and librarians worldwide. It is not surprising then that in our most recent comprehensive membership survey…information professionals are called by nearly three thousand titles. But no matter what title you hold…you must become leaders and agents of change inside your organizations in ways you probably did not imagine only a few years ago. And I know many of you are already assuming this mantel of leadership. The change to a Web 2.0 world… with its increasing participation by prosumers… those who both create and use content… is creating enormous pressure on small and large content providers and distributors alike to anticipate continued developments in what has become a chaotic marketplace. Only by developing the next generation of highly targeted… efficient…and effective products for their customers can these companies remain competitive. And that is why I have made no secret of the fact I believe information professionals have a role to play as collaborators in this process. After all…info pros are people who truly understand the value of these products and services… and are the strongest evangelists of them when it comes to influencing purchasing decisions about content and information technology inside their organizations. And…finally…change is reshaping the corporate face of the information industry seemingly moment-to-moment. The recent announcements of the proposed formation of Thomson-Reuters and the bid by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for Dow Jones are but the latest examples of the dramatic tides affecting the industry. I would even imagine that some of you may have even changed employers several times in the past few years without ever leaving your office. Change is…indeed… upon us. So the question for each of us is…”How do we handle it?” We can handle it by resisting change…by just digging in our heels and hoping for the best…or we can EMBRACE change…or even lead it…as a way of mastering it….even though this will make our path to success more difficult and require an element of risk. I know you…and I know your commitment to this profession and to this industry. You will not sit back and wait. I dare say…you CANNOT sit back and wait. When gold was found not far from here in 1858… where the South Platte River and Cherry Creek converge….three small mining towns sprung up. It is said…that with a barrel of whiskey as the prize…these towns merged into what would later become the City of Denver. It was named after the Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver in hopes of currying favor with him. Unfortunately… communications being what they were back then… the Governor had already left office when the honor was conveyed. Thus began Denver’s growth from a modest mining town into a modern frontier city and then into this marvelous metropolis we appreciate so much today. Growth has imposed a lot of change on this city and has demanded substantial risk from its inhabitants over the years. There were the usual growing pains. There was also crime … poverty … pollution…and…let us not forget… weather to deal with. But like smart…practical….civic-minded people everywhere… the citizens of Denver addressed their problems as they arose … confident in their belief they had the commitment and the intellectual capacity to overcome them. And like the Mile High City…I have no doubt that you too will prevail as a result of your courage…your passion and your creativity. But I want to be clear about this. You do not face the change taking place in the information industry alone. SLA…is by your side…your partner...committed to your success and committed to providing you with the tools and actionable information you need succeed in today’s changing environment. So what exactly is SLA doing to help you succeed? First and foremost…SLA’s mission is to promote and strengthen its members through learning…advocacy… and networking initiatives. And we are doing just that. SLA understands the need for information professionals to remain proficient and up-to-date on the latest advances and trends in information acquisition…management…and delivery. That is why we created Click University and why we remain single minded about the success of this valuable continuing education tool. When we launched Click U back at the Toronto conference in 2005…some said it was very risky of the Association to create the first online professional development university for information professionals. Despite the naysayers…we knew SLA had an obligation to meet your changing educational needs through easily accessible…valuable… and affordable online education. And we are doing just that. I am pleased to report that in the first half of 2007… we have seen an increase in usage of approximately 300 percent from the same time a year ago. In January… we launched our new Click University Certificates program in Competitive Intelligence. By partnering with experts in this specialized area… we have created a truly outstanding program focusing on one of the most sought after disciplines in information management today. I am also pleased to report that revenues from the CI program have… as of today… already surpassed by thirty percent the goal we set for the entire year. This program marks an import milestone in the growth of Click U because SLA’s programming up to this point had been mostly through Click U Live! I am also pleased to tell you that SLA has been recognized this year as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). This designation is extremely important because it ensures that you and those you work for can count on highest quality education programs designed for the best and brightest in the information profession. It also allows us to award I-ACET Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for qualifying courses… including the new CI Certificates Program. Also this year…Click U Live! has introduced a new program called “Gary Price: Quarterly Updates.” Those of you who had a chance to hear Gary at conference know what an engaging speaker he is and that few have Gary’s knowledge and expertise when it comes to online search capabilities. Now… instead of having to wait until the next conference to hear Gary speak…Click U Live brings him right to your desktop every quarter for the very low price of fifteen dollars per session. As they say on QVC…”How can you pass up a deal like this?” And…this year…Click U is making available online for the first time 1000 business…leadership…and management books to members free of charge through an agreement with eBrary. These books cover everything from personal management to entrepreneurship and from organizational behavior to project management. No one knows better than info pros the value of information and knowledge… and you can be sure SLA is totally committed to expanding and developing innovative learning opportunities for you well into the future. Another way SLA is working for your success is by providing valuable networking opportunities such as this conference and local unit events. But we are also making a significant investment in technologies that will increase your ability to communicate and collaborate more effectively with your colleagues throughout the world. This year we have began evaluating technology solutions…such as social networking…virtual worlds…and other collaborative tools we believe could significantly enhance the way you currently communicate with each other online. This is in addition to five wikis and more than 20 blogs we have created in recent months to encourage more vigorous communication among SLA members. We also recently launched our new Webex system that will make video and audio conferencing and training easier and more effective for you. The Association is continuing to make the SLA Web site more interactive and user friendly…and we will be training headquarters staff throughout the summer on the new Association Management System. This system will soon make it easier for unit leaders and headquarters staff to analyze member data more effectively and to communicate with you more efficiently. While a primary goal of our technology efforts is to spur online networking and collaboration among members…there is an important secondary benefit. We are creating a laboratory in which you can experiment with different collaborative tools if you are not already familiar with them. We believe this hands-on experience with technology in a risk-free environment can ultimately prove beneficial to you and your organizations. Another important way in which SLA is working on your behalf is through our wide range of advocacy efforts. By speaking out on issues important to you and by speaking up for you and this profession…we are enhancing the value and stature of librarians and info pros inside the companies and organizations you serve. This year…we have been involved in a number of important issues …such as supporting no-fee access to online Congressional Research Services reports….responding to potential negative economic and policy impacts from the WIPO’s Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasts and Broadcasting Organizations…and encouraging efforts to strengthen the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. While involvement in each of these issues contributes to the public understanding of SLA and the information profession…SLA has been extremely aggressive this year in working to ensure that the proposed closures of a number of U.S. government libraries are carefully scrutinized and thought out. And no plan has been more front and center in the past year than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s announced intentions to dramatically reduce services throughout its regional network of specialty libraries. When SLA first became engaged in this issue… we were particularly concerned about EPA’s intention to digitize information and data housed in these libraries without a well-thought out plan for doing so. We had been told that information important to the health and safety of Americans had already been lost or destroyed as part of EPA’s digitization process. As a result…we raised this issue with Congress…and Congress responded. Following a congressional hearing by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the proposed cutbacks…I met with representatives of EPA at SLA headquarters to discuss the matter. During this meeting…EPA assured us that further closures and changes in its library network would be “frozen” as the agency works to develop and implement policies and procedures that would best serve the needs of the public-at-large and EPA scientists. And…EPA clarified with SLA that it stands by its commitment to work and consult with us as the agency considers the future of its library system. Mike Flynn…EPA’s director of the Office of Information Analysis and Access…was most gracious to join us this week to listen to what you have to say about the issue…and I want to thank him for being with us. SLA’s advocacy efforts are not…however…limited to a particular country or a particular issue. I continue to remain active in United Nations’-sponsored activities concerning the future governance of the Internet. As one outcome of the World Summit on the Information Society…WSIS… the Internet Governance Forum will meet every year through 2010 to discuss where the Internet is headed and how it should be governed. I attended the first IGF last year in Athens as your representative… as well as IFLA’s… and work is already underway for the next IGF meeting in November. My primary goal in these talks is to ensure SLA members have as much access to a robust…organic… and valuable Internet as possible, as we realize it is the foundation of your work. One of the focal points of these discussions is likely to be the continued need to balance the legitimate needs of content providers for fair compensation for their intellectual property with the needs of millions of people worldwide whose lives could be immeasurably improved by their nation’s active participation in the world-wide digital economy. The importance of the free flow of information and the value of information professionals is a message I and your leadership have and continue to deliver throughout the world. In addition to the six chapter visits I made in the past year… I had the honor of representing you this year at numerous international events and meetings including SIIA’s Content Forum…The Perfect Information Conference…, and the Transborder Library Forum. SLA continues to be active at the annual IFLA conferences…where I have been named to the President-elect's Information Society Working Group. I Rebecca…Stephen… and I also hosted a reception for info pros from China when we were in Seoul, South Korea for the IFLA Conference. This was arranged in order to publicize the creation of our provisional chapter in China. While it will take time for this chapter to mature…we are very pleased at the prospect of an SLA chapter in this developing economic powerhouse. Without exaggeration…I can tell you that an SLA representative has visited every continent in the past year with the exception of Antarctica. And I can assure you…if we had a chapter there…we would have visited. We believe that living up to SLA’s expressed goal of being a truly global organization is critically important to the future of this Association and we will spare no effort in achieving it. As we look ahead…2009 will be an extremely important and symbolic year for SLA. The Association celebrates its centennial…honoring one hundred years of service to librarians and information professionals. A milestone of this magnitude is truly extraordinary. It deserves to be celebrated in a big way and it will be. When an individual reaches 100 years of age…it is a time to celebrate but more so to reminisce …to honor their accomplishments and to acknowledge the lives they have touched. The future tends to be unspoken. The same cannot be said of organizations. They can grow in strength and vitality over many years provided they maintain their relevance and increase their value to their stakeholders. A centennial is validation of both. While it is appropriate and beneficial to look back at previous accomplishments on this type of anniversary, it is absolutely essential to use such a milestone to focus an organization’s critical thinking and creative talents on what lies ahead. As we have discussed throughout this conference…and will continue to do so for some time…the information profession is undergoing extraordinary change. Some even say the future of the profession is in doubt…but I say the future of the profession is bright…the only question is what change and what opportunities do WE choose to embrace. That is why as a lead up to the centennial in 2009…SLA is undertaking an extensive examination of the information profession and of the Association’s place in the evolving information economy and how best to serve your needs in the future. Working with a team of researchers, brand experts and futurists… we will seek to define what the profession will look like in the next ten…twenty…or thirty years…and what you will need from SLA to continue to be successful. Relying heavily on primary and secondary research…we will endeavor to look over the next several hills…to anticipate the roles librarians and info pros will choose to assume or be expected to assume in the future. Most importantly…we will seek to help you in every way we can to align your knowledge…experience…and skills…with the evolving expectations of the organizations of tomorrow. Throughout this alignment process…we will encourage your input and ask your opinions. We will keep you up-to-date on our progress and consult with you at points along this path. You are the future of this profession. It is through your dedication …knowledge…and expertise that the organizations you serve have been able to grow and prosper. It also why SLA has been able to grow and prosper to serve you. I sometimes like to imagine what the world of information will look like after I am gone. How will people communicate fifty years from now or even five years from now? More importantly…what new devices…applications… or technologies will enhance human kind’s access to knowledge even further? And how will people know what is important when they are awash in a sea of information? I do not have the answer to these questions…but I absolutely believe …no matter what changes occur…there will always be a need for those with special skills and training who can make sense out of bits and bytes…or whatever comes next…and help the rest of us navigate an increasingly complex and knowledge-rich world. It will not always be easy…and you will be called on to take risks from time to time…but I can think of no one I would put more faith in to impose order out of chaos…than those of you in the information profession. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed working with you and representing SLA during the past four years. Your commitment to your profession is an inspiration to me and the wonderful…talented staff with which I have the privilege of working day-to-day at headquarters. I am extremely proud to be associated with such an outstanding organization. And I am extremely fortunate to work with a board of directors and Association leadership that reflects the depths of your talents and commitment to the profession. I want to especially thank President Rebecca Vargha for her support and leadership in the last year. Thank you very much for your attention.