SLA is very much concerned about members who are unemployed or are facing cutbacks, and I wanted to share with you some of the steps we are taking to ensure that members will continue to benefit from the networking and professional development opportunities that are part of membership, regardless of their employment status.
SLA has worked hard to hold the line on conference costs so that we can continue to offer one of the best conference values available at a time when many other organizations have raised their rates. In recognition of the economic difficulties so many members face, we prolonged our early bird discount and, at its expiration, offered a second discount in honor of the Centennial. We are pleased to know that many members have found that with these discounts, and by sharing rooms and rides, etc.,they will be able to join us this year. The D.C. Chapter has even set up a wiki to help.
At the same time, we recognize that many are making very tough choices about their finances--in part because SLA has had to make some as well. One hard decision was that we will not offer further conference discounts to members who lose their jobs. We simply cannot afford to do this and pay the bills.
We are, however, taking many steps to keep SLA members involved in both the conference and the association, regardless of their job status. We have made a special point of asking our conference speakers to provide copies of their presentations or to allow for them to be recorded for podcast, and we will post the results on the SLA Website after the conference. All members can follow the conference on Twitter by following sla2009.
We hope that our new membership category, which allows those making $18,000 or less to join or renew for just $35, will keep SLA affordable for unemployed (and under-employed) members at the time when they most need the networking and professional development opportunities that are the hallmarks of SLA membership. Webinars and replays are free for the first time, along with a wealth of other Click University resources. And SLA's Career Center offers a whole range of services, from resume posting to job listings to career advice-and it's free for members.
All of us look forward to better economic times. Until they arrive, SLA is committed to finding creative, cost-effective ways to provide unemployed members with networking and professional development opportunities.