In the past few weeks, my Council and leadership colleagues and I have had a number of conversations with members about how one goes about getting involved in SAA. We’re delighted that people care and are willing to pose that question–thanks to all of you who did, and to all of you who share that interest. The call for appointments by Vice President Dennis Meissner will go out in October, but that’s not the only way to be professionally engaged with SAA. Council member Tanya Zanish-Belcher, who is both welcoming and great about getting people involved, has provided some thoughts on the subject. And if you still or in the future have questions, please follow the suggestion on the button that Terry Baxter and the Membership Committee were passing out at the recent Joint Annual Meeting: “Ask me.”
Now for Tanya’s good advice:
This topic has certainly been discussed before (most notably on the SNAP blog: http://snaproundtable.wordpress.com/ and http://www.archivesnext.com), but I thought I would draft my own Top Five list, based on my own experiences over the past 15 or so years.
5. Show Up. Amazingly, time and time again, this has proved valuable in what I consider to be my professional “service” career. Especially in the very beginning, when I was first starting out, being at the table put me ahead of the game. I began by attending the Sections and Roundtables where I had an interest (specifically the Oral History Section, the Science, Technology & Healthcare Roundtable, and the Women’s Collections Roundtable). Simply by being in the room, I met others interested in the same things I was, and when the opportunity came to volunteer, I spoke up. I ended up serving as co-chair and on steering committees, and it is a really good way to network with other archivists and learn about how SAA works. And once you are a leader, I would highly recommend attending the Leadership Forum at the annual meeting—another opportunity for networking and connecting. Continue reading