Thanks to Sabah Eltareb, Division Chair 2010, SLA Government Information Division; Assistant Director, California Research Bureau, California State Library, for the this article: Answering the Call. This article was originally published in the 2010 Best Practices for Government Librarians: The New Face of Value. Best Practices is a collaborative document that is put out annually on a specific topic of interest to government librarians. The 2010 edition includes over 70 articles and other submissions provided by more than 60 contributors from librarians in government agencies, courts, and the military, as well as from professional association leaders, LexisNexis Consultants, and more.
"Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do."
It is funny how we end up in situations that we sometimes didn’t purposefully plan to, through the combination of our own individual personality, circumstances, and timing, and end up being rewarded in ways not anticipated.
In 2008, I had just wrapped up participating as one of the first cohorts of the Eureka! Leadership Institute which mandated each attendee work with his/her library management on a mission-critical issue. In addition to the internal benefit being worked on, there was a strong encouragement that attendees should look for opportunities to give back to the larger library/professional community.
At that time, I was working at the California State Library (CSL), in charge of two formerly separate sections that had just merged - General Information & Reference and Government Publications. The state of California was experiencing a fiscal crisis resulting in state department budget cuts and hiring freezes. There was not enough staff to maintain and operate two separate public services desks so Library administration determined this merger was the best option to pursue. Handling the merger, by the way, was my project for the Eureka! Leadership Institute.
I did not plan on taking on a leadership role in any of the professional library associations that I belonged to. I was quite content being a member, receiving the affiliated membership benefits such as journals or discounts to trainings and conferences and subscribing to listservs. I had enough on my plate with my job, family and other community activities.
Shortly after the Eureka! Leadership Institute wrap-up, a couple of messages were posted to the Special Library Association (SLA) Government Information Division (DGI) listserv requesting members to run for division leadership positions...