ALCTS Newsletter Online, December Issue 2007

   From the President

Pamela Bluh, ALCTS President

Measuring Success

In mid-October, the division executive committees gathered in Chicago for their fall meetings. In addition to working on their own agendas, they joined the ALA Executive Board in an examination of the characteristics of a successful organization using Jim Collins’ The 7 Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don't (ASAE, 2006). In a nutshell, remarkable associations:

  • exist for the member. They build their structures, processes and interactions around fulfilling member needs.
  • align their products and services with their mission. Every product, service and venture serves member interests and moves the association closer to achieving its vision.
  • use data to drive strategies and go through a continuous, disciplined process of collecting research and incorporate their findings into strategic and operational planning.
  • are characterized by a close-knit, consistent culture. Whether they lead or work behind the scenes, everyone shares equally in the responsibility to contribute to the value the association provides.
  • encourage the CEO to act as the broker of ideas, to gather consensus around member-generated ideas and facilitate group process.
  • remain steadfast in their commitment to their members, while willingly changing the way they do business. They have the operational structure to respond and to implement change quickly.
  • maintain alliances with other organizations and seek partnerships that will further their mission.

It was not surprising to discover that, in many respects, the divisions appear to be better than the parent organization at attaining the attributes of a successful organization. But that is no reason to rest on our laurels!

Evaluating and reshaping ALCTS requires coordination and the energy, skill and dedication of a great many people. It is a multifaceted process that will occur over a sustained period of time. One aspect of this process is a survey based on the “seven measures of success” that was recently distributed to the membership. If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to answer the survey. Your answers, which will be anonymous, will provide us with the data we need to flourish as the successful, remarkable association we envision.

We are also balancing our long-range efforts with matters of immediate interest. Our membership numbers as of August 2007 stand at 5,151, an increase of 5.49 percent over August 2006. Retaining those members is one of our priorities. The Membership Committee is on the verge of conducting a survey of our public librarian members. The Education Committee is developing a strategic plan that will form the platform for our efforts in continuing education. The planning database, critical to the association’s activities is being populated with action items.

In addition to our in-reach activities, on December 12, I represented ALCTS at a meeting in Washington, D.C. which was convened by the Committee on Legislation (COL) that explored options for establishing a procedure to develop government information policy positions for ALA. This meeting is the first step in articulating a process that will allow all interested parties to participate in discussions of policy.

ALCTS Past-President Bruce Johnson spearheaded our effort to prepare comments on the report of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. In preparing the ALCTS/ALA response, input was sought from as many interested parties as possible within the time available.

Midwinter 2008 occurs a week earlier than usual and we have a number of exciting events lined up for Philadelphia. The two-day ALCTS/LC workshop “Metadata and Digital Library Development” sold out very quickly, but due to popular demand will be repeated at Anaheim in June. The Midwinter symposium “ Risk and Entrepreneurship in Libraries: Seizing Opportunities for Change” is also attracting a lot of interest. If you have not yet registered, there is still time to do so. The full list of ALCTS Midwinter programs and meetings may be found in this issue of ANO.

The short and long range initiatives we are undertaking are very exciting, although at times they may seem overly ambitious. However, I believe that to strive for and remain a remarkable association, a degree of risk is appropriate, even necessary. I hope you will take a few minutes to respond to the survey and help us build on our strengths and eliminate our weaknesses.

Please drop me a line if you have questions or comments on any topic concerning ALCTS.

Best wishes for the holidays.

Contact Pamela Bluh, ALCTS President, 2007-2008