Sharing a Future
Human beings with a common interest will sort
themselves out into groups that will then gather
by Cindy Shamel
Shamel Information Services
and share. It’s just who we are and what we do.
Thus, when the call went out for specialized
librarians to attend SLA’s annual conference, n his opening keynote address, James Carville observed that New
held June 13–17, 2010, in New Orleans, more Orleans has its own culture, as defined by a number of factors, includ-
than 3,400 made the trek. Overcoming eco- ing food, language, and social groupings. Beignets, chicory coffee, Muf-
nomic hurdles, braving record heat, and dodg- fuletta sandwiches, and gumbo exemplify popular local foods. A distinc-
ing daily cloudbursts, these information pro- tive local dialect influenced by Southern English, Creole, and numerous
fessionals gathered to take advantage of European languages sounds through the streets of greater New Orleans.
opportunities for continuous learning, knowl- Further, as Carville put it, you can tell a lot about a New Orleanian by know-
edge sharing, and to prepare for changes to ing the Mardi Gras krewe to which he or she belongs.
come. Did the good times roll, as the 2010 con- Info pros also have a unique culture characterized by a common language
ference theme promised? You may have to (aka jargon) as well as shared values and characteristics. You can even tell
judge that for yourself. Surely the conference something about them by the division to which they belong. The following
offered opportunities to learn, to share knowl- descriptors of the info pro were gleaned from various programs delivered
edge, and to examine some options for the throughout the 3-and-a-half day conference. Info pros have an interest in
future of the profession and the association. continuous learning and knowledge sharing. Common characteristics include
strong ethics, an image of trust, the ability to see inflection points, and the
ability to see patterns. Info pros strive for excellence, give attention to detail,
and are good writers and thinkers.
Mary Matalin, in the opening keynote address she shared with husband
James Carville, pointed out the challenge represented by the huge flow of
data surrounding the Gulf oil gusher. Crisis managers actually experienced
“info smog” as they were bombarded with ideas on how to stop the flow
and to manage the environmental impacts. Matalin rightly observed that
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SHARING A FUTURE: SLA 2010