When the Southern Baptist Library Association held its annual meeting at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, June 1-2, 2005, the organization voted unanimously to adopt a new name reflective of a new direction and new purpose.
The SBLA existed for 20 years as fellowship-type professional society for librarians and archivists exchange of ideas and discussion of institutional developments.
In recent years, however, several realities confronted the organization which, in turn, led to a new name and new focus for the group. These included a dwindling attendance at annual meetings, dwindling institutional travel budgets which made for difficulty in SBLA’s competing with larger professional organizations, a realization that an inclusiveness to all librarians and archivists at Baptist institutions was not adequately reflected in the SBLA name, and a desire from within SBLA to cipher the organization’s legitimate niche in the association/professional development marketplace in filling a need not met by other organizations.
At the 2004 annual meeting in Vancouver, WA, President Naomi Taplin appointed an ad hoc committee to study the mission and purpose of SBLA and to make recommendations to present at the 2005 meeting in Birmingham, AL. While the committee desired to retain the fellowship and professional contacts nurtured in SBLA, they concluded that the uniqueness of the organization was more clearly represented in the fact that participating individuals all dealt in some way with identifying, preserving, and providing access to Baptist materials.
Now the Association of Librarians and Archivists at Baptist Institutions (ALABI), the newly focused organization seeks to bring positive attention to Baptist historical collections, provide a framework wherein members may share interests and pursue common goals, and foster opportunities for fellowship and networking among members.