A New Century: 2000 – 2010
The year 2000 dawned with the threat of Y2K and the potential for a cataclysmic chain of events caused by an inability of computers to recognize the new century. This threat wrecked havoc with society but fizzled when technology made the transition from 1999 to 2000.
The real jolt came on 9/11/2001 with terrorist activities in the United States. The ramifications changed the fabric of society and many libraries were faced with new intellectual freedom challenges caused by The US Patriot Act and other restrictive legislation. Globalization, burgeoning technology, financial instability and environmental concerns were hallmarks of the decade. The explosion of the Internet and the introduction of Library 2.0 profoundly changed the working of libraries and the ways of the world.
SELA adapted to change. A focus on communications was a hallmark of the decade. Much of the committee work formerly done via correspondence and conference calls was transferred to electronic discussions. Emphasis was also placed on the expansion of the SELA web site. During the decade, the site was hosted by SEFLIN followed by The University of Central Florida Library and by Austin Peay University.
The Southeastern Librarian made great strides under the four year leadership of editor, Frank Allen. A peer-review process was introduced. Issues became available electronically on the SELA website and H. W. Wilson contracted with the organization to offer online access to the journal. Cost saving and ground breaking work continued with the guidance of Perry Bratcher for the ensuing six years of the decade. SELn transitioned to a twice yearly enewsletter and a biannual traditional journal. Another move came when the 55 plus boxes housing the SELA archives were transferred from Emory University to Valdosta State University’s Archives and Special Collections in 2006.
In 2001, Vice President/President Elect Ann Hamilton was approached by Georgia businessman Bud Frankenthaler with the idea of offering a library scholarship through SELA. As a result, President Barry Baker introduced plans for a new Ginny Frankenthaler Memorial Scholarship in library science to be offered in 2002. According to the guidelines, “The purpose of the scholarship is to recruit beginning professional librarians who possess potential for leadership and commitment to service in libraries in the Southeastern United States.” The scholarship provides financial assistance toward completion of the graduate degree in library science from an institution accredited by the American Library Association.”
A pressing concern during the decade was the decline in formal participation by state library associations. Reduced revenue also forced the association to reexamine its business model. Association members did a tremendous amount of soul searching and work on the long term direction of the organization. “What can we do better?” became a common refrain. Members strove to think strategically and concentrate on the future of SELA. A new committee structure was introduced in January, 2007 including a new Membership &Mentoring Committee.
In 2008, the SELA President’s Award officially became the Charles E. Beard Award. Named after the late distinguished Georgian, Charles Beard was a former SELA President who died in 2004. Beard was a strong advocate for libraries and a mentor for library workers on the local, state, regional and national levels.