From the Office

charles wilt

Letters from ALCTS

From the Office

Charles Wilt, ALCTS Executive Director

Leadership Development for Our Association Leadership

My son, Erich, just turned 23 on April 5. I mention that because he is an early Millennial in generational terms, and he might have been a part of a new wave of librarians coming into the profession if he were to have pursued librarianship as a career. I also mention this because when I began thinking about this article on leadership development, my mind wandered to what would I like to have available as opportunities for Erich as he moved through his library career and involvement in an association like ALCTS. Nothing like adding a touch of reality to my normally abstract thinking process.

Who will lead ALCTS in its next 10, 20, or 50 years, and how do we prepare them for that role?

Do we have leaders who are readying themselves to serve as President, serve on the Board, or as Section Chairs, on Section Executive Committees, and as Committee Chairs in 2010 or 2015? Who will write the ALCTS Strategic Plan for 2015 or 2020?

Depending on the range of years cited for Gen X'ers and Millennials, these generations turn 40 and 25 respectively in 2006. Who are they and have we, ALCTS, as an association prepared our new leadership for what lies ahead for them?

We have made important strides over the last several years through the work of the Leadership Development Committee under the leadership of Dina Giambi, and now Betsy Simpson, in planning leadership programs, initiating the Volunteer Forum and revamping the New Leaders Orientation.

As important as these opportunities are, I believe there is still a piece missing that specifically addresses the "continuum" of the outstanding leadership ALCTS has enjoyed now for many years. That is a deliberate and focused effort to provide educational and development programs for a new leadership. This is important for ALCTS. We need leaders in the future from younger Boomers and then forthcoming generations of members, Gen X, Millennials, and beyond.

Developing new leaders is not an ALCTS specific concern. Associations, as a whole, recognize the importance for succession management, replacing current and near future leadership, and providing solid training for potential leaders Other associations have instituted comprehensive leadership training programs, leadership mentoring programs, and the like that are geared to leadership roles that members must assume in associations. These can be quite different that leadership roles those same members may have in their work environments.

As ALCTS enters its 50th anniversary year, one of our challenges as a vibrant and successful association centers on our ability to encourage members to step forward and assume these leadership roles. It is also our challenge to give those members the best training possible to enable them to prepare to do so.