Bill Robnett, ALCTS President
A good deal of ALCTS business was accomplished during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in New Orleans this past January. Perhaps more important than the motions passed, deliberations completed, and so on, ALCTS division-level committees met with the executive board and the Planning Committee on Friday afternoon to discuss these committees’ tactical contributions to actualizing the division’s Strategic Plan.
Out of that two hour meeting came a great deal! It became clear from comments during and after the gathering that this was a very welcome opportunity to hear about the activities of other division committees and to understand how one committee’s programmatic initiatives can be so intricately linked to and reinforced by those of others. The demand and the desire for this face-to-face opportunity has led to establishing this all-ALCTS committee meeting as part of future Saturday afternoon ALCTS board meetings.
In reflecting on this expressed desire of ALCTS committee chairs to interact with one another, I keep coming back to the issue of ALCTS and its sense of identity, or rather identities. I have always thought of our organization as being identified through its type-of-activity sections: Acquisitions, Cataloging, Collection Management and Development, Serials, and Preservation. Indeed you, the membership, and I, very much among you, resoundingly voted to maintain our sectional and activity identities about a decade ago in a reorganization referendum. In wishing to reinforce these section-grounded identities during my year of committee appointments, I often found myself curious about the genesis of some of the ALCTS-level committees. So did some of my appointees, who actually researched the histories of some of the ALCTS committees by contacting past chairs and members. There seem to be many reasons why the committees were originally founded; our cyclical O&B review can help determine if their charges are still valid. Certainly the current chairs and members can ensure that their committees’ activities are relevant, timely, and effective—this is, after all, a lasting contribution of any ALCTS president whose one-year term is so short!
So, what about the “care-and-feeding” of our professional and organizational identities? The ALCTS Education Committee (through the capable efforts of Peggy Johnson, chair, and other committee members representing the sections) has established a “themes” framework upon which I encourage committees and sections to maintain and enhance our identities. This can be done by continuing to educate new and established members and by identifying future educational initiatives to further the goals of the sections and of ALCTS as a whole. Remember, too, that we are also very well positioned to move our educational offerings into the realm of the Internet. As an example, Carol Diedrichs and Trisha Davis have very successfully converted “The Fundamentals of Acquisitions” institutes into the Web-CT environment.
Our opportunities are unlimited!