The exchange of ideas among information and knowledge professionals around the world through SLA holds the same kind of promise. One of my favorite stories comes from one of our members in the upper Midwest who was desperately searching for an outdated engineering standard for her supervisor. After exhausting all her usual free and even paid sources, she posted the request on an SLA listserv – and received the document within two hours from an information professional in Reykjavik, Iceland. She was a hero to her organization, but her secret was having the foresight to join an association that brought her close to her colleagues locally, but gave her access to a world full of colleagues who she could count on.
That is why SLA continues to work hard to expand membership around the world. We currently have members in about 75 countries, including a rapidly growing group in India. That is why SLA has been an active member of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) since 1946, and why so many SLA members play important leadership roles in IFLA. I am a member of the IFLA Governing Board, as are two Past Presidents of SLA, a past Board member, and a member. Last year, SLA was granted observer status in WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, which allows us to have important input into public policy affecting information professionals on a global level.
The global exchange of ideas among information and knowledge professionals really flowers each year at the SLA Annual Conference. Last year, SLA members from about 30 countries joined us in Washington. I sincerely hope that members from an even greater number of countries will join us in June in New Orleans to plant new ideas that will come to fruition in the years ahead.