Info*Nation and the CLA

I was reminded this morning of the site that kicked off my renewed interest in librarianship, Info*Nation, and its brought-to-you-by, the Canadian Library Association. Back in 2009, this site gave me the shot in the arm I needed to make a fairly major career change. I don’t belong to the CLA itself, though, and I know only a bit about them. Why is that?

Part of it might be that the OLA eclipses their national counterpart, profile-wise, though to be fair my eyes first knew of the OLA because Groundwood Books, an excellent publishing house that I left in late 2010, has won a lot of Tree Awards. I also knew of the Super Conference, as Groundwood exhibited there and much preparation was required to make available materials for the booth. The OLA was a strong presence in school, as well, and now as a member, I receive emails, the magazine, and so on. (As I write this I fear, as I often do, that maybe I just wasn’t paying attention in school, that the CLA was in front of my eyes the whole time, but that’s a self-flagellating post for another day.)

Anyhow, I then remembered an opinion piece, from the Fall 2011 ola.access, about the CLA. Written by Michael Ridley, it is a call for information professionals to join (or rejoin) the association, an apology for how the CLA has failed in the past, and more than a bit of “we have our eyes on you, new CLA Director, President, and Executive Council — this pitch for librarians to join up and contribute is contingent on you shaping the hell up.” (In quotes as my interpretation; these aren’t Ridley’s words.)

I don’t know anything — beyond this article and some cynical comments from a speaker at the Super Conference — about how the CLA has failed its membership and the profession in the past. I’m not sure I should actually even look into that; perhaps instead I’ll take Info*Nation at its word, and Ridley at his, and join up based on faith and my own accountability. Can’t hurt; as Ridley says, if they “fail to reinvent itself in the image of its new members … then quit.”

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