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By Phil Green

As an SLA 2014 Gold Sponsor, Lucidea played a significant role at the Annual Meeting and INFO-EXPO in Vancouver.  Part of this sponsorship included our Hot Topic Session - Adapt, Act and Thrive: Ensuring a Sustainable Library.  In this session a panel of visionary information professionals discussed the serious challenges that threaten special libraries’ sustainability, and they discussed how they “adapt, act and thrive” in the face of these challenges. 
The Hot Topics round-table discussion was moderated by Joe Matthews who questioned the panelists on issues such as:
How do you...
·        ensure and leverage info-ubiquity and deliver universal access to information?
·        embed yourself within your organization and work with IT to integrate with existing systems?
·        engage with end users who wish to influence and interact with content via social tools?
·        manage challenging vendor relationships?
·        control costs, and
·        demonstrate value to upper management via tracking, measurement and monitoring of services? 
Our panelists were:
·        Judith Bloch, Corporate Librarian/Information Resources Manager with Shannon & Wilson, Inc. - a geotechnical and environmental engineering consulting firm.  Judith and her team use CuadraSTAR.
·        Joan Cunningham, Regional Librarian at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger - a national engineering firm that designs, investigates, and rehabilitates structures and building enclosures.  Joan and her team are SydneyPLUS clients.
·        Jennifer Hermsen, Manager, Knowledge Services with Kemin Industries, Inc. -  a life science company that innovates to improve the lives of humans and animals around the world.  Kemin Industries is an Inmagic Presto client.
·        Karen McQuillen, Director,Knowledge Services at Educational Testing Service  - an assessment development and research organization. Karen and her staff use SydneyPLUS
·        Susannah Tredwell, Manager of Library Services, Davis LLP - a national Canadian law firm headquartered in Vancouver. Susannah and her team are SydneyPLUS clients.

The session was extremely well attended; we had 190 registered participants!  In fact, it was  standing room only and unfortunately there were some attendees out in the hallway.  We tell ourselves this is actually a good problem to have – but we’ll definitely work with SLA to ensure that we get a larger room for future Lucidea sponsored sessions.
For those of you who couldn’t attend  our Hot Topics session or even the SLA conference, I’d like to provide a quick overview of some of the highlights:
The biggest laugh:
o   During the introduction of the panelists, Joe Matthews asked each person to tell the audience something surprising about themselves.  Karen McQuillen stated “I have three cats and I like to read…but anyone would know that about me, because I am at this conference.”
Most surprising answer:
o   “People should know that everything is being tracked.” This was Jennifer Hermsen’s answer, when asked by the audience about what to track and how to leverage metrics to understand library usage, and whether it makes employees uncomfortable.
Best audience question:
o   “Do you really have the right type of IT people with the right experience to help you?”  The panelists all acknowledged that IT is very busy and that while they understand the technology, they don’t know much about content.  This led to a discussion about how important it is to build a strong relationship with IT, even though it takes time and energy.
Thanks to our great facilitator Joe Matthews, our terrific panelists and an engaged audience, the morning was a big success.  As attendees left the room we overheard some comments:
o  “I was really impressed with the panelists; they had some great ideas!”
o  “I had to stand up the whole time but it was well worth it!”
o “I hope Lucidea sponsors a similar panel discussion next year.”
o  “The moderator did a great job at keeping the panel focused.”
o  “That was one of the best SLA sessions I’ve ever been to - it was so practical.”

Please let us know if you attended, and if so, what you thought of the session.  And for everyone else, please let us know if you would like Lucidea to do more of these types of sessions at future SLA Annual Meetings and suggest some topics – we very much value your input.    

Note from the Author - I've attended the SLA conference for over twenty years and Karen is right (I have two cats and I like to read).

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