Annual Report 1993–1994

Jennifer A. Younger, ALCTS President


ALCTS will provide its members, other ALA divisions and members, and the library and information community with leadership and a program for action on the access to, and identification, acquisition, description, organization, preservation, dissemination of information resources in a dynamic, collaborative environment. In addition, ALCTS provides forums for discussion, research and development and opportunities for learning in all of these areas. To achieve this mission, ALCTS has the following organizational goals. To:

  • promote the role of the library and information science in an information society.
  • provide its members with opportunities for information exchange.
  • promote innovative and effective library education and training, to foster the recruitment of individuals with diverse qualities to library work, and to provide continuing education for librarians and library practitioners.
  • develop, support, review, and promote standards to meet library and information needs.
  • provide opportunities for members to participate through research and publications and professional growth.
  • manage the association effectively and efficiently.

Activities, Programs & Achievements in Relationship to ALA Priority Areas and Goals

Priority Area A: Access to Information

ALCTS programming in 1994 represented the full breadth of Association interests. Four preconference programs in Miami together with over 30 hours of formal conference programs speak to the enthusiasm and energy that ALCTS members bring to the job of equipping members with information to meet the needs of their positions and their institutions in providing library services. A brief review of topics demonstrates the substantial and timely nature of the preconferences: funding strategies for preservation, bibliographic control of conference proceedings, reconceptualizing acquisitions in the electronic era, and networked resources as a transformation agent in creating a powerful new context for the theory and practice of collection management. As is expected, a goodly share of conference programs bear on the electronic aspects of what we do, reflecting the initiative taken by ALCTS in addressing what librarians need in the future.

Discussion groups represent yet another source of information. A focus on current topics, such as team management, paraprofessionals in collection development and CD-ROM licensing, regularly attract a hundred or more people to the meetings.

The first John Comaromi Lectureship, a gift from Mrs. Myung Comaromi in honor of her husband, John Comaromi, who was the director of the Dewey Decimal Classification Division at the Library of Congress provides yet another opportunity for ALCTS to invite leaders in the profession to share their knowledge. The first speaker is Jean Weihs.

Throughout the year, regional institutes received high marks from attendees while a standing-room only crowd at the new institute on the electronic library ensured the institute will be offered again.

ALCTS accepted an invitation from the Cooperative Cataloging Council, led by the Library of Congress, to serve on the newly formed Coalition for Cooperative Cataloging (CCC) governing council, which will be comprised of representatives from ALCTS, the Library of Congress (LC), the National Library of Canada, OCLC, RLG as well as five participating libraries and coordinated by the LC. The inclusion of ALCTS on the governing council is both appropriate and welcome. ALCTS representatives and committees, particularly in the Cataloging and Classification Section, play a critical role in the ongoing development of cataloging principles and rules. Through the participation of the ALCTS executive director, who will represent the Association, ALCTS will contribute greatly to the coordination of overall bibliographic control requirements and specifications and facilitate coalition building among types of libraries.

Priority Area B: Legislation and Funding

ALCTS endorsed the Telecommunication Infrastructure Policy Forum's Principles for the Development of the National Information Infrastructure, supported reauthorization of LCSA and full appropriation for HEAII, and voted to urge Congress to protect the fy 94 funding for the Library of Congress.

Priority Area E: Personnel Resources

ALCTS has a successful program of continuing education directed primarily to the needs of librarians. We recognize that paraprofessionals are highly valued members of the library community with continuing education and training needs that are most likely distinct from as well as similar to those of librarians. In November, ALCTS established a Task Force to identify continuing education and training needs of paraprofes- sionals working in the areas of library collections and technical services, and to identify what ALCTS can do to meet those needs.

To assist ALCTS members in interpreting the ALA Code of Ethics as it applies to issues of concern to ALCTS members, prepared a set of guidelines to supplement the ALA Code of Ethics. The Acquisitions ALCTS Task Force on Professional Ethics Section Statement on Principles and Standards of Acquisitions Practice was also approved by the Board. Both documents are available from ALCTS and were disseminated via AN2.

* Accreditation - The current president is serving on a advisory commit- tee to the ALA Office of Accreditation regarding the September 1994 accreditation teleconference for the purpose of which is to explain the role of accreditation. A number of ALCTS members, including some from the Education Committee, will participate in the teleconference scheduled for September.

Priority Area F: Library Services, Development and Technology

ALCTS continues its active work on standards through its committees and task forces. The Cataloging Committee: Description and Access (CC:DA) worked on the cataloging of Internet resources and guidelines for the bibliographic description of interactive media.

In addition to activities within ALA, ALCTS members were recruited from the ALCTS Catalog Form and Function Committee (CFF) to serve on two NISO committees, addressing a standard format for downloading records from bibliographic and indexing databases and a standard for sorting of alphanumeric characters, and the Audiovisual Committee's draft standard on Packaging and Labelling of Video Cassettes was referred to the Technical Committee IT7 of the National Association of Photographic Manufacturers, Inc.

ALCTS again supported ALA representatives to IFLA sections in the areas associated with ALCTS responsibilities, including the Sections on Acquisitions and Exchange, Bibliography, Cataloging, Classification, Conservation, Serials and Statistics. Nominees were actively sought and recommended to the Board by the International Relations Committee.

ALCTS continues to publish new guidelines. The most recent addition in the Acquisitions Guideline series, Guide to Selecting and Acquiring Cd- ROMs, Software, and Other Electronic Publications, has already sold over 600 copies. Best sellers include AACR2 1993 Amendments (1993) at over ten thousand copies and the Guide to Preservation in Acquisitions Processing (1993) at a two year total of almost seven hundred. The Board approved two new publications, one on cooperative collection development and one on cataloging interactive multimedia, clearly topics of current interest. Also, to ensure current awareness and timely dissemination of information, LRTS began a new series on emerging trends in technical services and the Catalog Form and Function Committee initiated a series of briefing papers "From Catalog to Gateway" appearing in the ALCTS Newsletter.

In 1994, the ALCTS Network News (AN2) increased its subscription base from 1,850 to over 2,000 and has proven to be a timely and highly effective method of disseminating information on ALCTS activities and programs.

ALA Organizational Support Goals

Organizational Area A: ALA Roles and Relationships

ALCTS informed its section and committee chairs of the LITA program fair and recognized the need for ALA-wide participation. From the reports of ALCTS committee and discussion group activities, I have noted there is considerable cosponsorship, some of it in name only, within ALCTS and across divisions.

Thoughtful discussion by the section executive committees and the Board provided the Executive Committee with the basis for the ALCTS response to the ALA Self-Study Committee. In the statement, ALCTS emphasized the role of ALA as an advocate on issues and legislation important to libraries, support for the recommendations of the Perlov Study and the need to develop the technological infrastructure to facilitate ALA and ALCTS work year round, thus freeing conference time for work on high priority issues requiring in-person deliberations.

Organizational Area B: ALA Finances/Budget

The Association is maintaining financial strength through close attention to activities with an impact on revenue and expenditures and is projected to have a net revenue in fy 1994. A surplus in fy 1993 was attributable to staff vacancies, suspension of support for IFLA representatives and reduction (from 8 to 6) in the number of issues of the ALCTS Newsletter. In fy 1994, the projected net revenue, assuming it materializes, will result from the dues increase of $10.00 which went into effect January 1994. The dues revenue provides a solid base on which to add publishing and continuing education programs.

The Budget and Finance Committee revised the "Five Year Financial Plan (June 1989)." Association revenue is derived from dues, publications, and continuing education activities (regional institutes and preconferenc- es). Dues represent the largest and most stable category of revenue. Maintaining this stability through increased membership is thus a long range goal. Short term goals emphasize having a balanced budget, maintaining the operating reserves, and pursuing an active continuing education program.

The presentation of regional institutes is a risky business and the ALCTS Budget and Finance Committee monitors all proposals against strict budget guidelines. The committee developed a "market" budgeting technique designed to provide an institute planning committee with a feasible budget for planning purposes. The budget rests on two factors: the expected number of attendees and registration fee. A year of testing this technique has demonstrated its utility and the Association intends to continue its use.

Organizational Area C: ALA Human Resources

ALCTS is committed to being the most effective association it can be in support of membership responsibilities and activities. At the 1993 Annual Conference, the Board of Directors received the Final Report of the Organizational Structure Task Force (OSTF) and voted to put the bylaws revisions to a special membership ballot. Balloting was in October 1993. Although the bylaws revision as a package was rejected by a two thirds majority, most likely due to the proposal to eliminate sections, individual recommendations contained within the Final Report were subsequently implemented or referred to various committees for action. ALCTS reduced the length of the programming planning cycle from 18 months to 12 months, prepared revised bylaws for the spring 1994 ballot to merge two sections into a single section to focus on preservation and reformatting issues, reduced the size of the Board of Directors for greater organizational efficiency, and referred recommen- dations on the use of technology in conducting ALCTS business, extending programming beyond the conference site and enhancing electronic communication among ALCTS member to the Planning Committee.

The final report of the ALCTS Task Force on Implementing the Report of the Task Force on Nomination's Procedures and Leadership Development was charged to increase membership involvement, to communicate to members what support mechanisms are in place and to improve the membership's awareness of what opportunities exist for participation. Among their accomplishments they noted a Breakfast with Leaders and an article identifying the number of new committee members whose participation was a direct result of a completed volunteer form (June 1993 ALCTS Newsletter).

Membership in ALCTS remains strong with the year end total predicted to be 5,800. Since 1984, the numbers show an overall decline. Using the year end membership statistics, however, it is clear the greater percent (33%) of the decline occurs from organizational member nonrenewals than from personal members (3%), reflecting cuts in serials budgets. The Office prepared a new membership brochure for use in the spring 1994 membership drive.

* With the formal signing of the shared staffing agreement between ALCTS and LAMA, and the two staff vacancies in spring 1994, Karen Muller reorganized staffing. Each of the five positions will perform functional responsibilities, e.g., program, communications, budget and publications, information and secretarial, for both divisions with the time allocated in appropriate percentages.

* The ALCTS staff are planning for purchases in fy 1995 to link effectively to the ALA LAN and resident databases. With the use of technology by ALCTS members ahead of what is available to ALA, this is a critical development that will enable ALCTS staff to provide more effectively the level of needed service. This year saw the establishment of list servs for the Board of Directors and several committees, which greatly facilitates the handling of Association business between conferences and supported the Board's first electronic discussion of an agenda item deferred from the Midwinter Meeting to a between- conference time slot. The Planning Committee is overseeing a pilot project in which the PLMS and RLMS policy/planning committees will investigate the use of electronic means to develop joint documentation.


It has been my pleasure to serve as the ALCTS President this year. Through the activities of its members and staff, ALCTS continues to demonstrate the critical difference made by an effective association in serving the interests of libraries and the library committees.