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Lachance does a nice job of saying that special librarians are underpaid, underappreciated members of organizations, but she ends the piece with the following:

When you cast your vote on the proposed name change, I ask you to consider not whether you like the name Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals, but whether it does a better job than SLA in conveying your value to organizations that hire people like you.

My problem is with the name “ASKPro,” and it’s a large enough issue that I’m willing to remain a squeaky wheel on the issue. Honestly, this sounds like something a marketing team of acid-wash jeans-clad thirty-somethings would come up with circa 1993. I was under the impression that we’re (I’m the Secretary for the Wayne State University SLA, btw) trying to change our name to seem more relevant to corporate and other bosses/CEOs. This name change is designed to help us keep our jobs, ascertain funding for travelling to SLA conferences, and other things. ASKPro is ridiculous, in my humble opinion.

If there was another name for SLA that would appeal to every member, I believe it would have been identified some time over the past one hundred years.

Are you kidding me with this, Madame-SLA-CEO? Honestly, the organization is a century old. We’re a huge bunch of people, and it’s going to be hard to satisfy everyone. At least let’s avoid sounding like we know nothing about marketing. Let’s get over finding a “snappy” acronym while we’re at it. A more straightforward option might be the American Society for Strategic Knowledge and Information Professionals. ASSKIP – Ass kip? Ask ip? Is it the “ass” we’re avoiding?

My proposal: American Society for Strategic Knowledge and Information Specialists: ASS-KIS[s]


An excerpt from Sweeny’s (the second) article:

That is the essence of “strategic knowledge”—a term demonstrated by the extensive research to resonate most effectively with our clients/patrons and employers. Our professional identities compel us to value and respect research.

To serve and sustain our profession, our association, and its individual members most effectively, we must align ourselves for the challenges of the 21st century. For many years, members have overwhelmingly indicated a desire for a new name; and now we have the research to enable us to move forward with a change. The details of the Alignment Project have been publicized for more than a year and available to members and the public.

The selection of Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals comes directly from the research results.

Whether the association’s name is changed this year or not, we must proceed to align ourselves and our organization for the new century.

Still, I urge you to vote (November 16 – December 9) in favor of the name change. Broaden your perspective. Look to the future.

I agree that the SLA needs to look to the future, but ASKPro isn’t accomplishing this! As special librarians, we need to be marketing ourselves, and even our professional associations, to a sometimes corporate, inevitably ignorant audience. The battle we must fight is one to maintain our small departments, back closets, and cramped offices. Everyone agrees that we need to prove ourselves relevant. All kidding (and ASS-KISsing) asside, ASKPro is a bad decision.

I believe that a second vote to change the name to something other than ASKPro should occur if ASKPro receives anything less than 60% approval. More consideration needs to be given to what precisely the name will become. ASKPro is simply not the right way to go.