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.