Charles Wilt, ALCTS Executive Director
Over the last three years or so, ALCTS has been undergoing a transformation, an association facelift. ALCTS has become more nimble, more flexible, more adaptive to change, and I believe even more importantly, more willing to see change as evolutionary and necessary and a good thing. Change wouldn't be change if along the way we didn't experience a few bumps and maybe a few bruises. We have experienced some but certainly no sinkholes or quagmires.
So why am I talking about this now, here in August 2004? Well, for a number of reasons.
The fiscal year, 2003-2004, which will end August 31st, will be the third fiscal year that ALCTS has existed since its dissolution of the shared office arrangement with LAMA. The Board of Directors has completely turned over in that period of time. The ALCTS staff has remained intact for that time (not an easy chore in these days, and particularly since Chicago is association capital of the US outside Washington, DC). I think we have had inspired leadership from the Presidents, the Board, the Sections, and CRG. And we now have some organizational and fiscal history that ALCTS leadership can actually look to for planning.
In crafting a budget for this year and in preparing for our planning process, initial discussions took place at the Executive Committee meeting this past spring on how to secure the future of ALCTS. If you have read Carol Diedrich's Presidential column in this issue about some of the Board actions taken during the past Annual Conference, you will note that the Board looked quite seriously at securing the future, particularly the financial future, of ALCTS. In order to secure the continued operations of the office and the publication of Library Resources & Technical Services ( LRTS), dues and nonmember subscriptions are being raised. It is often thought that dues revenue covers a lot of expenses. This was correct in the long distant past, but not for many years. Raising dues to cover the office and operations expenses will afford ALCTS better use of the other revenue it can produce. By raising subscription rates, LRTS can continue to thrive and expand and improve its position as the premier technical services journal.
Over the next couple of months, the ALCTS staff will be looking at what we do in the office to improve our processes, by changing how we work, how we approach what work we do, but all the time, making sure that the service the office offers is at the highest level. We can do this by continuing to automate, by continuing to make more materials available on the Web site, by working with ALA to streamline what operations we can, and by working with the ALCTS leadership so we make sure we don't forget anything or anyone.
This will be taking place over the next couple of months. In October, there will be new issues of the ALCTS Newsletter Online and LRTS. Look to both of those for more information.
The ALCTS staff has a challenge ahead. Wouldn't be life in an association or ALA without one.