The field of librarianship can feel like a world apart- it certainly has its own language, theories and history. It also offers a wide array of resources that can help even the newest among the field to feel connected and engaged in the profession. The Southeastern Library Association is one of many that welcomes librarians into its fold. Listservs such as LM_NET serve to connect geographically distant librarians, allowing for resource sharing and professional support. Journals including School Library Journal, Library Journal and Teacher Librarian offer reviews and editorials as well as information on library innovations that keep librarians current in their field.
The Southeastern Library Association (SELA) was conceived by a group of southern librarians on their way to an American Library Association conference in Colorado Springs in June of 1920. Their first meeting took place at Signal Mountain TN in November of the same year and dealt with issues unique to the southern states- library access for African Americans and training librarians to staff those facilities. The first president of SELA was Mary Utopia Rothrock of Lawson McGhee Library in Knoxville. Despite its firm roots in Tennessee, SELA was incorporated in Georgia in 1950. Current headquarters are located in Tucker GA. (Southeastern Library Association 2011)
Members of SELA are found primarily in public and university libraries but also include state, community college, school, special and even retired Librarians. (Brinkman, et al. 2003) Membership dues are on a sliding scale based on salary level and professional status. After becoming a member it is possible to serve on committees that include budget, awards, public relations and website management. In addition to the committees, SELA also offers round tables that enable members with similar interest to connect. New members, those working with government documents or library instruction, online search librarians, paraprofessionals and preservationist are invited to join their designated round table.
SELA offers many continuing education opportunities such as conferences, a quarterly journal, listserv and Web site. In an effort to reach its members and the library community at large, SELA participates in and hosts conferences. In 2010 SELA joined force with the Arkansas Library Association to hold a conference that spoke to the past and the future of southern libraries with topics like, “Connecting with the Past: The Civil War Sesquicentennial,” and “ Cloud Computing: Pie in the Sky.” (ArLA 2010) SELA publishes a quarterly journal. Two issues each year offer juried articles while the other two issues are of a more informative newsletter style. Board meetings take place at regular intervals. SELA has a Facebook page and a listserv in addition to its website The Southeastern Library Association | Home .
The Southeastern Library Association began as a way to address regional concerns of Southern...