Letters from ALCTS
From the Office
Looking Back (and Forward)
As I was thinking about what I would write for my column, I looked back over what I have written (a few odd ones included). I then counted the number of articles I have written (thirty). That is five years” worth. I began my column in the April 2003 ANO issue and have been writing them ever since. I have a headache just thinking about it. Not to brag, but some were really good, there are some about which I really wonder, and there a couple of repeats when my brain just would not cooperate. What really got me started thinking about these articles was the realization that come April 30, I will have been your Executive Director for seven years, having begun this tenure on that date in 2001. Ah, the new millennium. I remember that. So long ago already. I know, I feel old, too.
One of my goals with these articles has been to discuss issues that are association issues. ALCTS is not alone in its struggle to survive and thrive in a very tough market with lots of competition and distractions for you, the dedicated member, and the potential member. There is only so much time and money for any one person to devote to an organization like ALCTS. ALCTS has been fortunate in this regard: your devotion and dedication. After all, it is my understanding that most of you have other jobs and maybe even a life that require at least some of your attention now and again.
Most if not all of the topics about which I have written in the past are still relevant as we move forward with re-creating, re-shaping, re-aligning ALCTS to take advantage of new developments and new relationships. There is still a need for continuing education, publications, and enhancing members’ ability to get involved (maybe re-defining what is meant by “involvement”). I have written about our need to create web courses, webinars, digital publications, and fast moving groups such as interest groups. I have also written about how important it for us to plan ahead ourselves, and now that ALA has a more defined planning process, in conjunction with it. To me, the organizational excellence goal that appears in our plan and ALA’s plan is vitally important for our health and welfare. I have said this before in any number of ways: we cannot remain, as we were if we are going to succeed in the future. That is why the work that many groups within ALCTS are doing right now is worthwhile and why the focus of the new website will be on content and what we offer.
I have also written about hopes and vision and defining the “who” in ALCTS. Who we are is entirely up to us, or you, more accurately: the design, the feel, the structure, the tone, the definition.
We gained much strength and purpose from our 50th Anniversary celebration. ANO has published some stirring “My ALCTS Experience” articles. Pamela and the other Presidents have written equally inspiring articles of their own. We have a definitive body of work that extols our virtues, challenges us to forward action, and lies out our promise. Go back and re-read some of it. You will be amazed and inspired. I hope that what I have written has in a small way contributed to this discussion.