What is Division Cabinet?

SLA 2012 DSOC breakfast

Having breakfast with my Social Science Division colleagues during SLA 2012

At the SLA conference in Chicago last week, I mentioned to everyone I met that I am a candidate for SLA Division Cabinet Chair-Elect. Many people responded by asking me what Division Cabinet is. I tried to explain it as best I could, but now that I am home I thought I would take the time to write up my understanding of it in more detail.

The Division Cabinet is comprised of the chairs and chairs-elect of each of the divisions. Divisions are units of SLA based on areas of interest, e.g. Social Science, Business & Finance, Competitive Intelligence. SLA also has geographically-based chapters, and chapter presidents and presidents-elect meet in the Chapter Cabinet. As needed, the Division and Chapter Cabinets meet together as the Joint Cabinet. The Cabinets meet twice a year, at the Annual Conference and the Leadership Summit.

The Division Cabinet Chair presides over the meetings of the Division Cabinet, and the Joint Cabinet at the Annual Conference. (The Chapter Cabinet Chair presides over Joint Cabinet meetings at the Leadership Summit.) The Division Cabinet Chair is a member of the SLA Board and brings actions of the Division Cabinet to the SLA Board. She or he also advises division leadership, assists in planning leadership activities and training, and represents division concerns to the SLA Board and staff.

At the conference, I was also often asked why I decided to run for this position. The short answer is that I accepted a nomination. The long answer is that I’ve always thought divisions are one of SLA’s main strengths and division programming is what keeps me coming back to the Annual Conference year after year (every year starting in 2002, in fact). I see the Division Cabinet Chair as an advocate for divisions in SLA and would be honored to be selected for that role. I also see being on the board as a way to give back to the association that has given so much to me.

If you are interested in SLA governance, I encourage you to attend the Leadership Summit, held each year in January or February. Next year’s summit will be held February 6-8 in a location to be determined soon. Most unit leaders attend, but you don’t need to have a current leadership position to attend.

I also encourage you to read the documentation in the governance section of the SLA website. You can read position descriptions and learn about all of the outstanding board candidates. (We got to spend a lot of time together at the conference, and I really enjoyed getting to know all of them.)

6 thoughts on “What is Division Cabinet?

  1. This is a great idea for a post and very well written. I had no idea how the whole organization ran with so many great volunteers until I started getting involved in chapter leadership. Thanks for posting! SLA needs more simple, easy-to-read explanations like this.

  2. The Division is the heart of what it means to be a Special Librarian (too damn bad if HQ does not like us to use the term Librarian any more). What makes us special is that we fall in love with our subjects to the point that we care as much about them as do our employers. They count on us because we know more than software and searching: We know actual stuff. When you sit at a presentation of the DBIO for example, there are biotech librarians, community hospital librarians, pharmaceutical company librarians, and university bio librarians, and you know intuitively that you are in exactly the right place to listen, learn, and exchange ideas with people who know what they are talking about. I suppose there are generic Info Professionals, who, because of job opportunities or brute economic necessity, flit in and out of rather diverse specialties, but if I want to know whether a given substance is toxic, a particular species is endangered, or new clinical study is likely to hold up at least as long as the next news cycle, give me a DBIO Librarian any day. (Feel free to insert your own division and examples!)

  3. Tara, wonderful job of explaining the Division Cabinet position and I love you using the word “Advocate”!

  4. Tara,
    Nice summary of the cabinet responsibilities. As MAHD division chair, past Sci-Tech chair as well as a past division cabinet chair, it is great that our leadership candidates can be succinct in articulating topics such as basic duties and responsibilities of the office they seek. I would add one thing, which is to be a conduit between the SLA Board and the division/chapter officers regarding strategic plans of the Association.

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