On June 22, 2009, the New York Chapter of SLA celebrated our 100th Anniversary, plus its own 90th anniversary, with a great big helping of New York finery. The event was held in the elegant University Club in Manhattan. Here’s the Wikipedia entry for this amazing place.
Through my travels to a few chapters, I’ve noticed that they each seem to have their own style and feel. Every chapter crackles with enthusiasm and professionalism, but the “flavor” varies. Southern California is, as you might expect, laid back and mellow, while the Bay Area is open and accepting and, dare I say, “groovy.” The Seattle chapter feels earnest and warm, even on a rainy day. But I have to say that on this night, at least, New York had a classy feel that really reflected well on our association.
Everything at the New York event was, as my Dad might say, “top drawer,” as the event planning committee secured sponsorship from a dozen vendors a month before the markets dipped. From the sparkling drinks to the table that looked like it was set with spun sugar for a family wedding, the evening had an elegant, decorative feel.
After hors d’oeuvres, we were shown to our table. Guy St. Clair, one of SLA’s past presidents, was the master of ceremonies and keynote speaker. I’ve known Guy for years, and I always find him energizing. In addition to a deep knowledge of SLA’s formative years, which he tapped to write the book about our history, Guy is a global consultant with a focus on helping businesses transition to a knowledge-centric culture in their organizations and businesses.
Guy shared with us stories of SLA’s past from his book SLA @ 100. As you may know, SLA was originally incorporated in New York; some of its first documents were bibliographies.
“It is an amazing story, this history of SLA, and in this book the author has taken every opportunity to present a fair and honest telling. Not only does St. Clair trace the highlights of the Association’s history he also tells the story as a story. “
There were 16 past SLA NY chapter presidents in attendance that night, so the room buzzed with power and prestige. Also attending was Gloria Zamora, SLA’s current president; Anne Caputo, SLA’s president-elect. With myself and Agnes Mattis—both SLA’s candidates for president-elect—the next generation of SLA presidents were in attendance, too. All in all, it was a great evening, and it reminded me of how proud I am to be part of such a noble profession.