Alyson Clabaugh | Scholarship Winner
Alyson is an information specialist with the mergers and acquisitions practice group at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.
Train doors rang in the darkness. “Philadelphia — 30th Street Station,” the conductor barked.
“Swell,” I sneered as I rubbed my palms together. I tugged my neck tie into place, adjusted my display handkerchief, clamped my felt hat on my head, and sprang into action: I would soon gumshoe my way into the SLA Legal Division Executive Board Meeting. I halted abruptly at the station’s curb. I whistled for a cab.
“Welcome to Philadelphia,” a lean, shifty-eyed hack driver tinkled.
“The Pennsylvania Convention Center — find her,” I growled. The hack pursed his lips menacingly, but I stared ahead until he threaded his way there. “Keep the engine hot. My get away may be dicey,” I commanded to a puckered forehead.
The door to Room 300 opened to admit me. Hawkish grins turned my way. “Welcome!” said John DiGilio, the SLA Legal Division’s 2011 Executive Board Chair. “I do not believe that we have met.”
Oh — these birds were cracking foxy. They knew my cut; they suspected that I was no board member. I smiled placidly, and I settled into a chair. I grunted: “Clabaugh. Alyson Clabaugh. SLA Legal Division. New York.”
“We are so glad that you could come. Can I get you something to eat? We have vegetarian and regular sandwiches.” Clearly he planned to grill me between bites. I smiled wolfishly. It would take more than tomato and mozzarella to make me squawk.
While the Executive Board Chair served me lunch, Tracy Maleeff, the SLA Legal Division’s 2011 Executive Board Chair Elect, thrust out her hand. I emptied my Diet Coke and countered her grasp. The talk was small, but her hint was big. This was her town: “I work here in Duane Morris LLP’s Philadelphia office. My Twitter account is LibrarySherpa, and I have been tweeting visitor tips all week. Feel free to contact me if you need anything.”
I proposed: “How about another drink?” I poured a terrific dose of Diet Coke and drained it.
The clock ticked towards high noon. It was time to talk turkey. Egad — if only I could figure out how they were communicating with each other — I could crack this case wide open.
“First, we want to share some surprising statistics. We have recently learned that only half of the division members have joined the SLA Legal Division’s listserv,” said DiGilio. “After the conference, we want to make a real push to get all of our members registered.”
A listserv — so that was their game. There was no more fooling around trying to be clever.
“We see the listerv as a real perk of division membership,” said Constance Ard, the SLA Legal Division’s 2011 Executive Board Past Chair. “We also think that it is a great tool for gauging what we can do for our division. Alyson, we would also love to learn what prompted you to join us today. Our board meetings are open, but general members do not often come. Are you getting what you want out of your membership?”
She had dynamited my cover. She offered a square deal, so I spilled. Then it all tied together — everything. If I wanted to be more involved SLA Legal Division outreach and programming initiatives, all I would have to do is…volunteer.
The SLA Legal Division listserv is a members-only benefit. Adding or renewing division membership is as easy as paying a visit to the SLA website.