By Chris Vestal
Celebrities often grace news programs on CNN with their presence virtually so they can answer questions without dealing with prohibitive logistics. DC/SLA recently took a page from the broadcaster and hosted a virtual question and answer session with the candidates for 2011 SLA President-Elect.
About thirty chapter members showed up for the event on August 31, 2010, at SLA’s headquarters in Old Town Alexandria to hear Brent Mai and David Stern answer preselected questions from chapter members as well as some live questions from the audience.
DC/SLA President James King started off moderating the session by asking questions about the candidates’ backgrounds in SLA. Both candidates come from backgrounds in academic libraries and explained why they chose to join SLA. Stern and Mai have a long history of leadership positions and were able to highlight several and explain how each got them more involved with SLA.
King followed this with several questions aimed at eliciting the candidates vision for SLA. Stern said his to priority would be finding out from SLA’s members what their own top priorities were. Mai said he believed that two main roles of president are “to be a cheerleader for the association and to evaluate how resources are allocated.”
Both candidates stressed the value of the association's diverse membership and the inclusion of international members. Stern said, “we need to also try to be a home professionally for those who don't have one.”
At the end of the prepared questions the audience was allowed to ask the candidates questions as well. Richard Huffine (who is also running for the 2011 SLA Board as Division Cabinet Chair-Elect) asked how SLA can improve vendor relations.
Mai and Stern weren’t the only leaders at the event. King pointed out that five of the ten candidates for the DC/SLA 2011 board were present at the event (for more information about the candidates and DC/SLA’s elections please go here). SLA’s senior-most leaders were also onsite for the event. SLA President Anne Caputo was one of the members who asked the candidates a question. SLA CEO Janice Lachance also attended and graciously welcomed members to SLA’s headquarters. SLA’s Chief Policy Officer Doug Newcomb also took several members on a tour of the facility.
To see the bios of all the 2011 SLA Board of Director candidates please click here. For videos of each candidate please go here. Voting will begin September 8 and continue until September 29, 2010.