Yesterday afternoon, following a handover meeting to the new Chair, I wiped BLA (the Business Librarians Association) off my jobs whiteboard for the last time and although I didn’t shed a tear exactly, it felt like a Significant Moment. In connection with my role as Chair of this association, and formerly webmaster, I’ve written and received something in the order of 12,000 emails over the past 8 years (calculated on the basis of my current BLA folder). That’s 125 emails a month, no wonder I was ready to step down!
Having said that, the BLA (previously BBSLG) will always have a special place in my heart, as my involvement in it has helped me: to grow and develop as a professional; to initiate and contribute to countless projects; to discover the art of chairing meetings, effective promotion and communication; to learn how to hold successful conferences and training events; provided me with many wonderful contacts and friends within the profession; and, perhaps most importantly, contributed to the securing of my current post here in Cambridge. If I hadn’t raised that tentative volunteering hand in that Hitchin hotel back in 2002, none of that would have happened. So if you find yourself sitting in a meeting or a conference and you’re struggling to decide whether you should raise that hand, I urge you to raise it. You could be missing out on one helluva learning experience that might well shape your career.
One final BLA anecdote. I was on the phone to Keith Walker last week , the BLA’s Supplier Liaison officer (whose job it is to secure sponsorship for our annual confernce and negotiate consortia deals) and I was telling him that I was probably going to find next year’s conference (in Sheffield) hard. I said: “I’ll probably be sitting on my hands, with tape over my mouth”. His swift deadpan reply was: “Andy, what you get up to in your own time is your business”