Getting involved

Earlier in the year I did a fair amount of thinking about my involvement (or rather my lack of involvement) in professional organizations. The reasons for this lapse on my part were varied, but in end it came down to a question of not having the time, or rather, not making the time. But I was starting to get signals from a variety of sources, from people I trust, from that vague, hovering cloud that are one’s tenure requirements, from inside myself even, that maybe it was time to re-evaluate this stance. Maybe it was time to start making the time.

What clinched it for me was reflecting on the experience I had had in organizing the Access 2012 conference. A great team, a great location, and even better attendees and presenters, all came together to create what will always be one of the accomplishments for which I am truly proud.

So I decided that this year I was going to get involved, to work with people to make things happen. Once that decision was made, a series of offers and opportunities presented themselves and I decide to take advantage of them. Of all of them!

To start, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve joined the executive board of the SLA Eastern Chapter as President Elect. In this role I am responsible primarily for the programming and organizing of events for the chapter. This is, however, a position that would have normally started in January, so I’ll only get a few months under my belt before assuming the role of President of the chapter in January 2015. I’m slightly daunted by the amount of work but far more excited by the opportunity to move things forward and start to build some momentum behind SLA as a key organization for information professionals in Eastern Canada.

In addition to my new role with the SLA, I’ve also joined the organization team of several other Montreal-based organizations. The are all organizations doing great work, ones where I felt I had something to offer, and that of course had something to offer me as well. But for this to work, for it even to make sense, I made sure that my role in the organizations was somewhat similar and also something that I was very comfortable and capable of delivering. With that in mind, here are the other organizations I’ve joined over the past few months:

  • Webmaster for l’Association des bibliothécaires du Québec – Quebec Library Association (ABQLA) – This is an established organization who over the last few years (at least!) have been doing a lot of solid work growing the organization and putting on great events and conferences. There is a good crossover of librarians from public, school, and academic libraries which I find very interesting and valuable. There’s a lot I can learn from these folks, and I’m glad to be able to contribute in any way that I can.
  • Communications / Web Manager for Association of Information and Image Management (AIIM), Montreal Chapter – The Montreal Chapter is a startup effort by a group of local AIIMers looking to step out from under the wing of the Toronto Chapter and create their own presence entirely focused on and of the city. I know about AIIM from my Sharepoint days (of which we shall not speak), and was asked if I was interested in being part of the team to help get this off the ground. Again, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with a group of talented, smart people to make something happen and learn a lot in the process. The membership also cuts outside of librarianship and academia, being from what I understand made up of information professionals of all walks and grounded primarily in industry. I can’t help but feel that there is a chance for some cross-pollination of ideas, or at least a mixing of various networks of people, librarians and other professionals who might have otherwise been siloed in their various traditional groupings. I’m not sure how I/we might be able to bring this about, but the potential is there.
  • Webmaster, James McGill Society – I’ve actually been in this role for some time, but I thought I would mention it here for completeness, but also because I’m planning on shifting gears a bit. Initially, I came on board to help migrate their web site over to the University’s web content management system. Since then, my involvement has consisted primarily of keeping the website up to date. What I want to do now is to help the Society improve its overall online presence and reach, to use social media (and more traditional communications tools) to get the word out on campus and to anyone interested in the history of McGill. This is a topic that means a lot to me, so anything I can do to help get the word out and bring new people into contact with the Society, well, that is certainly work that I consider worth doing.

So that’s it. Well, at least as far as professional organizations go. I’ve also joined the program committee for the 2015 DLF Forum. I was part of that committee for the 2013 Forum, and if all goes well I expect to be heading out to Atlanta in October for the 2014 Forum to immerse myself in all things DLF, to meet up with more good people and get inspired and energized.

That should keep me busy! I hope to write and share more about all these activities here and on Twitter. Follow along and feel free to drop me a line on any of this, especially if you’re part of one of these groups and we have yet to meet. Do drop in!


What I’m up to? Access!

If I haven’t written much here lately it isn’t that I don’t have anything to say! No, I’ve just been very busy with the start of the fall semester, mostly with supporting our existing web services but also with the work we’ve been doing on a few new features that we hope to be rolling out shortly. Teaching and all the related prep is also taking up some of my time. But the biggest item on my project list at the moment is the Access 2012 conference.

Access is an annual conference focused on library systems and technologies, and this year I was lucky enough to be co-chairing this conference along with Amy Buckland. We, with a very large amount of help from our fellow organizers, have been working for most of the past year to make the conference happen. With the conference only a week and a bit away, lets just say that we are deep into the details and making sure that we’re ready to play hosts to the librarians and technology folks who will be coming to Montreal for a few days of learning, networking, and fun.

You can find more information on the conference web site. The conference is 100% sold out, but if the topic interests you, I encourage you to follow us on Twitter for an exciting announcement we’ll be making in the coming days.

I’ll share more on the conference, probably once it is over. For now, I’ve got to get back to my planning work!