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Hal Kirkwood, Purdue University Libraries

Hal Kirkwood

Purdue University Libraries Associate Professor Hal Kirkwood has thrown his hat into the ring as a presidential candidate for the international Special Libraries Association (SLA). If elected, he will serve a three-year term: the first year as president-elect, the second as president, and the third year as past-president. Kirkwood’s only opponent, Kevin Adams, is an information specialist at the Institute of Environmental Science & Research in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Professor Kirkwood said one of the reasons he is running for the top office at the SLA is because he values professional associations for the resources and the connections they provide. In the brief Q&A below, Professor Kirkwood talks a bit more about his candidacy.

Q. How did you come to be an SLA presidential candidate?

A. I have held numerous roles at the chapter and division levels of SLA, as well as having served as a director on the Board of Directors from 2012–14. I’ve consistently been an involved and dedicated member of the association. The SLA Nominating Committee seeks and selects members for the open positions on the Board of Directors. They determine who has the right experience and vision for the presidential role.

Q.Why are you running for the office of president for the SLA and when is the election?

A. I am running for president of SLA because I believe in the purpose and value of a professional association. I believe that it can provide services and resources that can promote the overall profession and to aid in the personal and professional development of its members. I believe there is tremendous value in physically meeting with colleagues at conference to share ideas, best practices, failures, and to connect on a more personal level than anyone can in a social media saturated world. Campaigning for the election takes place during the Annual Conference from June 17–20, as well as online after the conference. The election takes place from September 7–21.

Q. How do you think that serving as an officer in the SLA will inform and benefit your work in Purdue Libraries? If elected, what kinds of responsibilities will you have as president of the SLA?

A. Serving as an officer, and specifically president, will inform and benefit Purdue by increasing my leadership experience, by helping me develop a broader view of the profession, and by increasing the exposure of the Purdue Libraries to a broad audience of information professionals, especially non-academics, worldwide.

If elected, my responsibilities will include overseeing and directing, in conjunction with the Board of Directors, the governance of the association. In collaboration with the executive director, the president represents the SLA worldwide within the information profession. The person serving as the president also gives direction to the formulation and leadership to the achievement of the association’s philosophy, mission, and strategy, and to its objectives and goals, as well as ensures the association is making consistent and timely progress toward the fulfillment of the SLA strategic plan.

Q. What is the role of the SLA in the overall library field? How do you hope to influence or contribute to its role, services/resources, mission/purpose in the library field?

A. There are two major associations that represent information professionals: the American Library Association and the Special Libraries Association. SLA is a truly international and interdisciplinary organization representing information professionals in academic, corporate, government, intergovernmental, and other areas often not fully represented by ALA. I hope to influence its role, services, and mission by seeking creative solutions, developing unique collaborations, and listening to the members to fulfill their expectations and needs.


Kirkwood serves as a Purdue Libraries’ liaison for the following areas at Purdue: consumer sciences; entrepreneurship, hospitality and tourism management, management information systems, operations management, quantitative methods, and social entrepreneurship. He also teaches courses in information strategies for management, international business and competitive intelligence, and information literacy. For more information, see his faculty page at www.lib.purdue.edu/people/kirkwood.