1. Background

One of SLA’s greatest strengths is in its divisions, a valuable network rich with subject expertise and outstanding subject-specific programming. However, many academic members also need more generalized content, germane to the academic institutions which they serve. This often requires attendance at other conferences such as ALA and ACRL. In today’s challenging economic environment, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify additional professional memberships and attendance at multiple conferences. SLA academic subject librarians obviously consider SLA attendance a must; however many are feeling increased pressure, often from non-SLA member colleagues and supervisors, to attend more general conferences for professional development concerning academic library issues. Likewise, some SLA division leaders feel compelled to offer more generalized programming focused on academic library issues to meet this acknowledged need, but those programs are offered at the expense of valuable subject-specific programs, something which SLA should never lose.

Creating a new Academic Division would provide an appropriate venue for the type of programming necessary to support our academic members, as well as providing a strong incentive to recruit non-members to join SLA.

* 1. PETITION: We, the undersigned members of the Special Libraries Association, do hereby petition for the organization of the Academic Division of the Special Libraries Association. We desire to participate in the activities of the proposed division. The temporary chair will be Stacey Greenwell, University of Kentucky. The proposed scope note of the division shall be:

“The Academic Division focuses on topics of interest to academic librarians from all subject disciplines. This division is committed to improving the quality of teaching and research at academic institutions by promoting collaborative opportunities between information professionals and the larger academic community. While other divisions are concerned with specific subject areas, the Academic Division covers topics of a general nature relevant to all academic librarians from all subject disciplines, such as:

• Understanding the special needs of working with diverse groups within the academic community--undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, community patrons, etc.
• Collaborating with other campus units in order to build partnerships to strengthen the library and further the strategic direction of the institution
• Utilizing technology to enhance the user experience in the academic library, such as virtual reference and distance learning technologies
• Working effectively with campus administration to improve library funding and support
• Providing opportunities for professional development through both effective programming and networking with other counterparts
• Enhancing institutional efforts to improve recruitment and retention of students, promoting the ideals of information literacy to the academic community and exemplifying the higher aspirations of academic librarianship and information professionals to both the academic institution and the local community"

By entering your name in the below line, you are agreeing to join the new Academic Division, if approved by the SLA Board of Directors. (Additional division memberships beyond the one free Division membership that comes with your SLA membership, cost $18/yr.) You must be a current member of SLA.

* 2. If this Division is approved, are you interested in serving on the newly formed Academic Division in the role of a Elected Officer (Chair Elect, Secretary, Treasurer) or on the Division Advisory Board as a Committee Chair or Committee member (e.g. Membership, Program Planning, Fundraising, etc.) or in an appointed position (Bulletin editor, webmaster, discussion list owner, etc.?) If so, please enter your name and contact details below so that we can follow up with you regarding your area of interest.