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In Remembrance, Robert Aaron

Long-time SLA Georgia member Rob Aaron died on December 26, 2018. Raised in Calhoun, Rob graduated from Emory University, earning both a BA with Honors in Political Science and a Masters in Library Science. He was an active member of the library community, working as a reference librarian at Georgia State University and the Atlanta Journal/Constitution before founding AaronSmith Associates, Inc, in 1981, an innovative research company specializing in the then arcane field of online research.

AaronSmith tackled a variety of unusual tasks, from supplying the factoids for CNN Headline News, producing analytical news coverage comparisons for such companies as Coca-Cola and UPS and producing fast-turnaround, in-depth research for the PR departments of Atlanta’s leading companies.

The company also participated in the early information economy with the sale of full-text database software that ran on a TRS-80 computer and the development of prototype online publishing, including a Georgia legislative news service and the first online offering of the Atlanta Journal Constitution movie reviews.

Rob also enjoyed teaching reference at the Clark Atlanta University library school and later was a researcher at the local public radio station, WABE. At the time of his death, Rob was a reference librarian with Georgia Gwinnett College.

He was also an active member of the Atlanta musical community, singing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus under the direction of Robert Shaw and as a staff singer for various Atlanta faith communities. His special joy was singing with the acclaimed Atlanta Singers from their debut in 1976 to April of 2016. He also sang with Atlanta Chamber Singers, another highly regarded local ensemble.

Rob will be much missed at St. Luke’s Episcopal, his church home for 40 years, where he served in the choir, as a member of the television crew, and as a member of the ringing band of St. Luke’s change ringing bells. He married his beloved wife, Judith, at St. Luke’s in 1981 in an innovative music-crammed service that was not only one of the first video-recorded weddings in Atlanta, but, at 90 minutes, also one of the longest.

Rob’s kindness and dependability enhanced every rehearsal and committee meeting. From too-well-worn stories shared with the “poker buddies” from Calhoun to the latest political insights, Rob cheered and entertained his fellow-travelers. His charm, wide-ranging intelligence, and elfin wit will be sorely missed by his friends and co-workers, but most of all by his family.

He is survived by his wife Judith, his daughter Rachel, her husband Travis, and his grandson Nathan. He was a loving and supportive father, a beloved grandfather, and the dearest and best of companions to his wife. Rob was the son of R.T. and Sarah Frances Aaron, deceased, of Calhoun, Georgia.

The funeral service was held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta on Wednesday, January 9th. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, memo: Rob Aaron Music Fund, or to the Training and Counseling Center,, 98 Currier Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30308.

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SLA-Georgia Members Present at the APRA-GA Spring 2018 Conference

SLA-Georgia Members Present at the APRA-GA Spring 2018 Conference


Chapter members Susan Klopper, Director of the Goizueta Business Library at Emory University, and Stephen Sherman, Research and Data Manager at the Southeastern Council of Foundations, recently participated as presenters in the APRA-GA Spring 2018 Conference. The Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) includes members across 29 chapters in the U.S., Canada, and Australia who work in areas of fundraising such as prospect development and prospect research, data analytics and data management, annual giving, and major gifts. APRA-GA members work at many of the development offices of local colleges and universities as well as at some of the larger cultural organizations, like the Atlanta Symphony. A number of APRA-GA members identified as having library science or information science degrees, demonstrating yet another potential career path for those in our field.

Susan’s presentation was entitled “Business Research Survival Toolkit: Earning Your Mini MBA in Business Intelligence.” Rather than focusing on specific resources, this presentation stepped back and considered a more strategic, even holistic approach to undertaking research.  This was a presentation more about behaviors, proposing that conducting good business research is as much about what you do offline to prepare as what happens once you may think you know where you are headed.  The audience was challenged to think about their information journeys and whether they were driven by logic or gut; by perception of facts; by assumptions or evidence. The presentation also encouraged audience members to be mindful of credibility and bias, to consider using proxies for hard to find data, to understand the methodology behind data, to not let assumptions get in the way of new discovery, and to be prepared for surprises and seize on these as opportunities rather than be intimidated.

The second half of the presentation focused on Google, and how to apply your offline mental roadmap to bring organization, focus, and intent to its vast sea of information. The presentation explored some of Google’s power search functions (e.g. phrases, site:; inurl:; filetype:, etc) and tricks (e.g. fewer but the right keywords; word order; trigger words; reworking word order and terminology, etc.) as very useful tools for empowering the researcher to challenge the blind trust often placed in Google to deliver the best, the most appropriate, and more credible results.  But the real power of using these Google search strategies draws from the researcher’s understanding of different types of information, who owns and publishes that information, how and for what purposes it is published, what you can expect to find, and all of the factors which enable that offline mental roadmap that is so critical to a successful research undertaking.

Stephen served on a panel entitled “Foundations, Family Offices and Donor-Advised Funds: A Philanthropy Perspective,” along with representative from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and Wellspring Associates, a wealth advisory firm. This panel looked at the trends in giving from three different forms of philanthropic vehicles – private foundations, donor-advised funds, and family offices. The session included an overview of the current data on each and explored the ways in which fundraisers could research the donors behind each form of giving. A common theme was noted among all three that every donor or family has specific giving interests and ways of supporting their selected causes. It is up to prospectors to research those individuals and find the best leads for their organizations’ fundraising needs.

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February 2017 SLA-Georgia Chapter Updates

Happy February! We’ve had a busy start to the year with the ALA Midwinter meeting in Atlanta just a couple weeks ago. Our chapter was able to host current SLA President Dee Magnoni on January 23rd at the Auburn Avenue Research Library, and we had an engaging discussion about her vision for the association and goals for her term in leadership. We even had a few SLA members from out-of-state join us, and it was great to meet some new faces. If you weren’t able to join us, look for a recap from Dee soon on SLA Connect and we’ll re-post it to the Georgia chapter blog.


Meanwhile, there have been a number of items passed along from headquarters that I want to make sure everyone is aware of.


  1. SLA Board of Directors issues statement in response to recent executive order on immigration:


“The Special Libraries Association is committed to the fair and equal participation and treatment of all citizens and especially the free flow of information, ideas, and people. Restricting the ability of talented individuals to travel to professional meetings, collaborate on projects, share ideas and information, and advance the interests of the global information industry run counter to these values and do as much or more harm to those who impose such restrictions as those who are targeted by them.


SLA supports our international members in their professional growth and development and values their inclusion in activities and events. SLA will continue to advocate for members seeking visas to attend our annual conference and other events that require them to travel, and affirms our commitment to providing a safe and equal space for professional participation for all of our members, partners, and event attendees.


Collaboration and partnering are core values that have helped make SLA the foremost global association for innovative information professionals for more than 100 years. SLA and its members—indeed, all individuals and organizations that work with information—benefit when people and their skills and ideas are allowed to move freely and make connections that transcend barriers.”


Everyone is encouraged to offer your comments or follow the discussion on this issue at SLA Connect.


  1. SLA Career Center Task Force seeks input on redesign of jobs portal:


The SLA Career Center Task Force is working to ensure that the SLA Career Center offers the utmost value to members who are in situations like these.


The Career Center Task Force is examining the current value of the SLA Career Center in order to strategically plan how the association supports members in their career transitions and professional development. The task force has dedicated time to study industry best practices and conduct a market analysis, and have compiled a list of the most common career resources.


We ask that you rate career resources according to their value to you and how likely you would be to use them. As we collect these responses from SLA members, the task force will be using this feedback to prioritize the services that will be offered at the relaunch of the Career Center in the latter half of 2017.


Please take a moment to complete the survey by February 17th.


  1. Your monthly reminder that the SLA 2017 Annual Conference is June 16–20th (Friday–Tuesday) in Phoenix, Arizona.

We had a chance to hear about some of the changes for the 2017 conference first-hand from Dee Magnoni:

  • Each educational session will be mapped to one of five thematic Learning Streams:
    • Career Development
    • Data Management and Curation
    • Intellectual Property
    • Leadership
    • Metrics, Analytics, and Assessment
  • Sessions will also be categorized according to three levels (Fundamental, Intermediate, and Master Class) to help you determine the appropriate learning content for your career level.
  • Options for unwinding will include Main Street SLA and The Park, two perfect settings to recharge and get in some all-important downtime with colleagues. Main Street SLA serves as the conference’s hub and is a place for building connections, exchanging ideas, and learning more about SLA and its community and units. The Park is a recreation area where you can let loose, put your feet up, and chat with other attendees.
  • The 2017 conference will also feature wellness activities like yoga to keep your mind and body active and energized during the conference.


Early bird rates end March 15th, so register now!




Stephen Sherman
2017 SLA-Georgia President

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November 2015 SLA Georgia President Update

Gracias, Gracie, Merci, Arigato, Salamat po

Whether in Spanish, Italian, French, Japanese or Filipino (the native language of the Philippines where I was born), this month’s message is about being grateful. With the Thanksgiving holiday and the end of the year upon us, I’d like to acknowledge the people and organizations who supported SLA Georgia in 2015.


But first, SLA News

At the Global/National Level: In case you weren’t aware of it, the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) has proposed a merger with SLA. As part of the email discussion around this topic, 2015 Chapter Cabinet Chair James King shared these thoughts:

“Any actions taken in executive session are reported in the following open session meeting and agendas, meeting minutes and board documents are all posted on the Board of Directors page at: Information, FAQs and links to relevant documentation about important topics we’ve been deliberating are shared via the Key Board Initiatives page at:

As yet another path for improving transparency and communication, we are also starting a series of Web Chats which will allow all members to learn more about the current topics being addressed by the Board.  Our first Web Chat will be held on Friday, November 20, at 2:00 ET.  You can start sending in your questions now to”
And on the heels of our October 28 lunch program on embedded librarians, SLA’s Embedded Librarian Caucus presents its first webinar for FREE on Tuesday, December 15, at 1:00 pm ET. Advanced registration required, so complete the form at:


At the Chapter Level: Please vote using the link provided by Past President Nancy Snell in an email message sent to current members. Elections end on Friday, November 20.

The Chapter’s last Board meeting takes place on Monday, December 7, at 5:30 at Kurt, Salmon. Current and newly elected officers will review the past year and start thinking about 2016, so please email Nancy at if you’d like to join us!

And be sure to save Tuesday night, December 8 for the Chapter’s joint holiday soiree with the Atlanta Law Libraries Association (ALLA). Details forthcoming …


On to the “Thank Yous”

Program Presenters, Hosts and Planners

The Chapter presented ten programs this year including our upcoming holiday party. Danke (Thank you in German) to:

Clara Williams who coordinated our Lunch and Learn programs this year and hosts:

Clara at the Art Institute of Atlanta;

Jane Killian at the Defense Forensic Science Center at Fort Gillem;

Stephen Sherman at the Foundation Center.

Other speakers included Chris Vinson who spoke on the Open Parks Network, a digital archives collaborative project between Clemson University and the National Parks Service; 2003-2004 SLA President Cindy Hill of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, our Fall Lunch speaker and Barbara Kahn-Aiken of the Coca Cola Company and George Peckam-Rooney of Seyfarth, Shaw, our October 28 speakers on embedded librarianship. Extra kudos to George for hosting this meeting.


Program Partners and Sponsors

The Chapter continued and increased collaborations with other library groups. Thanks to our local library group partners:

Atlanta Law Libraries Association (ALLA): Joint holiday party (save the date – Tuesday, December 8!);

Metro-Atlanta Library Association (MALA) and Society of Georgia Archivists (SGA): More on that in next month’s newsletter, but thanks to MALA President John Stephens and SGA Leaders Sarah Quigley and Brittany Parris in the meantime!


And Xiexie (Thank you in Mandarin Chinese) to these program sponsors:

Emily Halvey of Crawford Media Services, Inc. and Costco Wholesale for sponsoring our August 10 Chris Vinson program;

Patrick Riendeau and Charlotte Brathwaite of Bloomberg BNA for providing lunch at our October 28 embedded librarians program;

Wendy Maines of Thomson Reuters West for continuing to sponsor our holiday party. This year, it will be joined by Priory Solutions.


Last, But Not Least

Though the Chapter Board met as a group six times this year, everyone contributed extra time for “behind the scenes” efforts such as getting all members subscribed to the Chapter web site.

Obrigado (Thank you in Portuguese):

Meg Butler (Georgia State University Law Library), President-Elect, who gathered feedback for future programming at our Spring Lunch and planned the holiday party.

Nancy Snell (Kurt Salmon), Past President, who updated the Chapter’s strategic plan with members Ian Franklin and Jane Killian, represented the Chapter at a library school fair in June and chaired the Nominations Committee working with Irene McMorland and Jim Braden.

Irene McMorland (Interactive College of Technology), Secretary, who captured Board meeting highlights and served on the Nominations Committee.

Rebecca Gebhardt (Linex Systems), Treasurer, who ensured that we spent our funds wisely, coordinated program registrations, contributed insights for vendor sponsorships and shared takeaways from the Annual Conference and SLA New York Expo in September.

Anne Bao, Membership Director, who updated our “Welcome” email message for new members and established a connection for a future SLA Georgia field trip.

Lynda Larsen (Foundation Center Library), Communications Director, who completed the Chapter’s social media policy with input from George Peckham-Rooney and continues to maintain our Facebook page.

Patti Schminke (Hunter, Maclean), Director At Large, in Savannah, who gathered special librarians there for feedback on possible participation in Chapter activities.

Rod Bustos (Georgia Regents University), Webmaster, who continued to manage our web site and email list.

With everyone working full-time jobs, I hope that Board members found their SLA work to be rewarding. With them, I learned what it takes to work as a team to achieve common goals.


Besides the 24 people named above, let me add to that list the organizations and families of our Chapter Board whose support I’m sure is appreciated and valued by us all. As you can see, it does “take a village” to present our programs.

Lastly, I thank those of you reading this message for your time and attention. I hope this inspires YOU to not only continue supporting the Chapter through program attendance or posting a comment to our Facebook page or web site, but to host a future program or even speak at one yourself.

So no more what the language, spasibo (Thank you in Russian) and best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!


Ernie Evangelista
2015 SLA Georgia President

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October 2015 SLA Georgia President Update

Turn! Turn! Turn!

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven;
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, a time to reap;
A time to kill, and a time to heal”

I learned recently that this song, performed by the Byrds, contains lyrics adapted by Pete Seeger from the Bible’s third chapter from the Book of Ecclesiastes. It certainly fits our change of seasons, from the hot and humid days of summer to the cooler temperatures of autumn, from the lush leaves on trees to barren branches and fallen limbs.

With the holidays almost here, we push ourselves to complete work assignments and projects. So, as we distribute leftover Halloween candy and begin to plan Thanksgiving menus, this newsletter reports on SLA Georgia activities and reminds members of upcoming events.


SLA Georgia News


Other SLA News

  • The next SLA Board meeting takes place Tuesday, November 10, at 3:00 pm ET. Read minutes and upcoming meeting agendas, after signing in, at the SLA Board page.
  • The New York Chapter is cosponsoring the webinar, “How to Manage Your Local Node in a Global Workplace,” on Thursday, November 12, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm ET. For more event information and registration, go to:
  • If you couldn’t join SLAers in Boston, then here’s a chance to experience the best of the conference. Register for SLA’s Virtual Conference on November 12 which features three standout Annual Conference sessions: Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Strategies, Advice and Perspectives from Senior Leaders and Analytical Tools That Deliver Value.
  • With a new year around the corner, incoming President Tom Rink’s looking for YOUR help, so advanced thanks for completing the 2016 SLA Volunteer Form.


Ernie Evangelista
2015 SLA Georgia President


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