Two libraries and a materials service

On a recent SLA adventure, I visited the Pacific Northwest Chapter  in Seattle and had a lovely tour of the new(ish) library at Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington. The MS Library has an inviting presence with lots of seating. They focus on training materials in the physical library and, of course, have a killer website built using MS Sharepoint.  

After meeting with the PNW chapter, visiting SLA dignitary Gloria Zamora and I travelled to Portland to speak to the Oregon Chapter of SLA, which gave us a great excuse to visit  Ziba Design’s new digs in Portland, Oregon and see their library. Ziba’s library also has a very inviting presence. The information specialists are embedded in the business and only in the library ad hoc.

And for other business interests, I visited the Uliko Studio a materials research resource in Beaverton, Oregon which just opened in September. What can I say? It’s another warm, inviting open space. Quite lovely.

It’s not a library, but a materials sourcing service. They have an interesting business model as the materials and space are supported by the vendors as a service to the clientele of designers and developers. Isn’t this interesting? The owners were very knowledgeable about materials, processes, and sourcing. If you are in the area, and interested in materials, I recommend making an appointment to visit!

Enlightened Self-Interest

When I tell my colleagues I’m running for President-Elect of SLA, some of them ask me, with looks ranging from skepticism to awe, “Why do you want to do this?” A lot of answers have been tumbling out, and I don’t know if I’ve answered the question the same way twice. Just a few short months ago, one of the reasons, I thought, was to give back to all the wonderful mentors I’ve had. But I’m finding, really, it is enlightened self-interest. There is truth in the old saying that the more you give, the more you get.

People are so willing to share their insights, stories and vision for SLA. They want me to know how to move the Association forward. They—you—are trusting me with your insights.

It took a huge dose of courage to step up to this election, and to be honest there is a lot of self-doubt that goes into being a candidate for office. It’s akin to what Joseph Campbell wrote about in his epic Hero With a Thousand Faces. Early on there is a key part of every good story called “The Refusal of the Call.” This is where the reluctant hero argues against his logical path of action and tries to back out. It’s where Luke Skywalker basically told Obi-wan, “Look, I hate the Empire as much as anyone, but there’s nothing I can do about it right now.” It’s what I told myself a thousand times. And then…I agreed to place my name on the ballot.

But now, I’m really glad I stepped up—it’s been an honor already. I don’t know for sure how this ends, but I’m going to give it my best. You’ve entrusted me with your support and wisdom. I’m going to return the favor.

It’s really about volunteerism, in a new wordrobe (get it? word-robe! ha!). Maybe it’s volunteerism on steroids. Its not by any means an American trait. It has its roots in Old World philanthropy and noblesse oblige, in what Alexis de Tocqueville called “enlightened self-interest.”

I want to do my part to make SLA “Future Ready” because I believe it’s critical for the organization. It’s also in my own self-interest to make sure we’re ready for the next stage.

So, what’s in it for you? What enlightened benefits are you getting from your participation in SLA?