Letters from ALCTS


From the Office

Charles Wilt, ALCTS Executive Director

About the ALCTS Office

Over the course of writing these articles for ANO, I have discussed a lot of different and quite diverse topics, but have never discussed what goes on in the office, meaning Julie, Christine, and me. I decided to use my space this issue to tell you about us. I want to provide an idea of what it is Julie and Christine do, their goals, for what they are responsible, and why it is important for you to know that.

We are a small staff but representative of the other type-of-activity (functional) divisions like RUSA, LITA and LAMA. We downsized a few years ago from four to three staff, including myself. I mention this since many members think we are larger. We do borrow from other ALA departments to help us do our work, but mostly it is just us three.

Before I get too far into what we do, I will first start with introductions in case you have not met Julie and Christine. You have probably seen my name and picture enough that I do not need to dwell on me.

Julie Reese has been with ALCTS since January of 2000. Her position has morphed over the years from one strictly devoted to meeting planning to a much broader role in ALCTS. Julie continues to do meeting/events planning, but she has taken on the job of lead staff person for all of the ALCTS educational initiatives. This in itself is quite a task since it includes all conference programming, preconferences, workshops, symposia, web courses and any new development we are pursuing, which I will get to later. She works on the web site and is the unofficial Board secretary, just to name a couple of other tasks she has. But it is her work with the education programming that consumes most of her time.

Christine Taylor arrived at ALCTS in February 2005. Her position is the result of a rethinking of our needs in the office and the downsizing. Christine has four primary responsibilities, all of which are fundamental to what ALCTS does: membership, publishing, everything related to technology, and the web site. It can be quite overwhelming on a good day, particularly when deadlines loom and unexpected events converge on her, such as the problems we have been having with the conversion of the ALCTS web site to new ALA site software (Collage). Prior to working in the office, Christine served as head of the ALA production services area. Christine returned to ALA when she came to work for us in 2005, after leaving the association in 2000.

Needless to say, both Julie and Christine bring to their jobs valuable experience and skills that make my job a whole lot easier. What is more important is that they are both very dedicated to making ALCTS the very best we can be. It is equally important for you to understand that Julie and Christine are not content experts. Their work for ALCTS reflects their talent, expertise, and experience. That brings me to couple more points I would like to make.

Julie and Christine both have goals (as do I) that they must meet each year for their performance evaluation. I would like to give you an idea what they will be working on for this year.

Julie’s goals this year are mainly related to bringing new technologies to bear on our continuing education (CE) program. This means working to make sure that the new web courses are written into our new platform Moodle. It means getting a webinar up and running, and possibly some podcasts. She also will be looking at how we can streamline our proposal processes and make them more member-friendly.

Christine’s main goal this year is the redesign of the ALCTS web site. We have an opportunity to utilize Christine’s great talent and expertise in web design to bring ALCTS up several notches in our approach to our web presence. She will also be looking at how to make the publishing process more understandable and easier to navigate, and will be spending some time on membership marketing.

My goals are three:

  • Begin the process of gathering more data about what ALCTS wants to be and where it should go. We do some surveying now, but my goal is to use some of the data we already have collected (such as the 2005 planning survey), and refine it and ask our members again.
  • Second is to examine our policies and procedures. Are they relevant, do they need revision, are they accessible and useful?
  • Third, begin to map future revenue sources. We are basically dependent on dues, registrations, and publishing. My goal is to see how we can better use our content to both provide members with more access to our content and to develop new revenue streams to our external nonmember customer base.

Now that we have passed our 50th Anniversary celebration, at least in events, not in spirit, we (the staff) have, as you can probably see, some large projects to work on. Being able to work on them requires several things: time, cooperation, resources, help, and understanding. Part of my job, and I always think it comes under “duties as assigned,” is to manage Julie and Christine’s workload. This at times is not easy for it seems that everything happens at one time, or we have fifteen deadlines within two days. This is where you come in as members and member leaders. There may be times when Julie and Christine are not as quickly available as they have been in the past. This is not a reflection on them, but a consequence of the projects they have to complete this year. Christine, in particular, as the lead in the web site conversion and redesign, will require large amounts of time to work on the web site. This is where your understanding and cooperation comes in. She may not be quite as available as she has been in the past. Julie in trying to get more technology-based CE started, and will need your cooperation in a different way. She needs your content and skills, and she needs you to participate.

I hope this has given you some indication of what we do and who we are. ALCTS is very lucky to have staff as talented as Julie and Christine. I truly believe that we have the best staff in ALA. So as we (the staff) move forward this year and next, and you get a request to help out, please do so. It means a great deal to us here in the office to know that we have your support and you are willing to help move ALCTS forward.

Contact Charles Wilt, ALCTS Executive Director