ALCTS ANO v. 18 no. 5 Features

john duke, my alcts experience

My ALCTS Experience

John Duke, Virginia Commonwealth University

I entered the profession in the late seventies. Steeped in cataloging at UCLA’s library school, I naturally gravitated toward those meetings sponsored by RTSD, ALCTS’ predecessor, when I started attending national conferences. I followed the lead of a group of female catalogers from UCLA, who had an unsurpassed capacity to sit as observers through endless meetings. We would start with Big Heads, go on to CC:DA, drop in on the various subcommittees, hit Subject and maybe MARBI, then end up at the RTSD Board.

By the time I started working at Iowa State, I had drunk of the RTSD/ALCTS culture and was ready for an appointment to its Planning and Research Committee. Fortified by my developing relationships with active members of the association, I was later appointed chair to the same committee. I began cementing friendships that would carry me through another twenty-five years of service. Evidently I proved my worth enough to earn an appointment to CC:DA and then election to chair the Cataloging Section (and a trip to the Board as an ex-officio member). This was an era in the development of the Association when the clock was often stopped so we could continue meeting past its designated schedule. I well remember walking back to my hotel after midnight on many an occasion. Eventually the members decided to make me an honest man and elected me to the Board as a Director-at-Large in 2003.

I have barely scratched the surface of my ALCTS experience, but reflecting upon it leads me to several conclusions. One is that everyone needs a passion, and that passion will be rewarded with responsibility. Another is that relationships are the glue that hold the Association together. None of us work in isolation, and relationships are what propel us forward to new responsibilities. Finally, hard work is rewarded with more hard work. There is no lack of work to do in ALCTS, and anyone who wants the opportunity is able to contribute.

Life in ALCTS. One could make a career of it. . . .