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Won’t You Join the (Section) Dance?


Kicking off a new vision for sections and SIGs


Change—there are so many quotes about it. One that I recently came across may be my new motto: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance” (Alan Watts, philosopher). Previous postings by Kevin and Linda also talked about change (see Linda’s post entitled “The Time for Change Is Now” and Kevin’s post entitled “You Can’t Be Everything to Everyone”).

Well, the “band” analyzing and making recommendations on change, the Strategic Priorities Task Force (SPTF), is starting to warm up to play. But what fun is a band without an audience? That is where you, valued MLA members, come in. The task force invites you to help choreograph the section/SIG “change” dance. (It is rather obvious that I have the Austin music scene on my mind, isn’t it?)

Why change and why now? Well, one of SPTF’s goals is to redefine sections and SIGS so that both groups meet the needs of the membership.

The current MLA bylaws define a section as “an organized group that exists to support, address, and advocate for issues and topics related to a broad, yet unique aspect of medical and /or health sciences librarianship.” The definition of a SIG is “an informal group within MLA that serves as a body where members with common interests can network, connect, explore new roles/areas, etc.”

For the record, MLA instituted its “new” group structure for sections in 1981 and for SIGs in 1995. I think you will agree with me that 34 and 20 years respectively is a long time to exist without a little tweaking to keep up with the times. “Oldies, but goodies” doesn’t apply well here.

So, on Monday, May 18, at MLA ’15, there will be an open forum to kick off the process. Please join the task force members, along with some members of the MLA Board, to talk about the process. What new steps and new moves do you want to see within the sections and SIGS? Dancing alone can be fun, but dancing with a partner is double the fun.

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