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Continuing Resources: Not Just for Catalogers Anymore

Daisy Waters, State University of New York at Buffalo and Marilyn Geller, Lesley University

At the ALA Annual Meeting in June 2007, the ALCTS Serials Section’s Policy and Planning Committee recommended to the Serials Section’s Executive Committee that the section’s name, mission and programming focus ought to be expanded to explicitly encompass electronic as well as print resources. The change was proposed to comply with Goal Area 1 of the ALCTS Strategic Plan 2006–2011 which encourages members to “identify trends and major issues” and “respond to changing conditions.” The recommendation was based on trends in the profession, the types of materials that libraries are purchasing, and the responsibilities that serialists have absorbed. It is increasingly evident that:

  • resources in the digital environment have different features and characteristics with implications for the commercial sector and library services alike;
  • responsibilities traditionally associated with serials, such as subscription management, have a natural kinship with electronic resource management;
  • a growing number of serials librarians are assuming responsibilities for electronic resources in addition to handling printed resources.
  • The concept of continuing resources relates to all members of the serials community; it is not just for catalogers.

The Policy and Planning Committee therefore proposed a new name for the Serials Section: the “Continuing Resources Section.” A new mission statement, available on the section's web page, covers all types of continuing resources, including print serials, electronic aggregations and integrating resources. The section’s programming focus has shifted in recent years to emphasize electronic resources, and it is the intent of the Section to encourage this trend, while ensuring that traditional serials issues are not overlooked. It is hoped that the new section name, mission and focus will encourage individuals who have not previously joined to become section members.

Remarks from the New Section Chair

This is an exciting time to be part of the Continuing Resources Section. Its new name and mission create a wonderful opportunity to take stock and skillfully map our future. The new focus also offers the leadership a chance to rededicate ourselves to carrying on the rich legacy of the Serials Section. Leaders need to spread the word that Continuing Resources Section is where it’s at and to meet the goals in the ALCTS Strategic Plan with outstanding programming, publications, and other value-added products for our members.

To achieve this, we call upon our dedicated membership to participate fully in the activities of the section and to focus on what needs to be done to achieve our mission. There are ten committees and two discussion groups in the Continuing Resources Section, not to mention the executive board. Members are urged to think about volunteering for a slot on a committee or toss your name into the hat for the next round of elections. Or you might write an article for Library Resources and Technical Services; plan a program; think of creative new ways to collaborate with other ALCTS sections, ALA divisions, and outside groups. In addition, although ALCTS has traditionally been academic-library centric, members are urged to reach out to librarians and support staff working not only in academic but also in public, school, and special libraries. Every type of library acquires continuing resources for its users!

A great way to find out what is happening in the continuing resources world is to attend one of the section’s executive board meetings at conference. Much can be learned from the board and committee and discussion group chairs. Board meetings are also a place to propose and discuss fresh ideas and activities.

The section leadership expects to create a winning atmosphere and encourages everyone to be part of a winning team! I challenge every member to go the extra mile for the section, to serve enthusiastically, and to be a part of implementing the section’s new vision.

A change in name and mission is all in a day’s work for most serialists because constant change has been a fact of our professional lives. Continuing resources are definitely not just for catalogers anymore–they are for everyone! I am honored to serve as chair of the Continuing Resources Section and look forward to the year ahead.