Letters from ALCTS
ALCTS Success and the Seven Measures
Pamela Bluh, ALCTS President
At the beginning of April, the ALCTS Executive Committee held its spring meeting in Baltimore. Over a period of a day and a half, a wide range of issues from the ALCTS budget, to updates from the sections and division level committees, to an overview of the work of the Non-English Steering Committee were discussed. Soon the analysis of the recommendations in the LC Working Group report prepared by the task group chaired by David Miller will be available on the ALCTS website and our plans for addressing a number of those recommendations will be outlined.
Since Midwinter 2008, we have been engaged in an assessment of ALCTS based on Jim Collins’ 7 Measures of Success. Two groups, one composed of ALCTS leaders, and the other consisting of a random sample of ALCTS members, were surveyed and their answers revealed very similar impressions of our strengths and weaknesses. In general, ALCTS is regarded as a remarkably successful organization. Our customer service orientation and our emphasis on developing quality continuing education offerings are highly valued. Charles Wilt, our executive director, is very well regarded and widely recognized for his creativity and for providing continuity and the long-range perspective we need. The completion of the strategic plan and the availability of the planning database, the proposal to migrate all discussion groups to interest groups, and the digitization of the entire backfile of LRTS were mentioned as positive developments. Empowering the division level committees to carry out their mandates and the availability of effective programs are among the strengths of the association.
There were a number of recurring themes throughout the responses, and these were earmarked for additional study: communication; collecting and using data; and organizational adaptability. Three teams, each led by a Director-at-Large and supported by two Board members, reviewed these areas, identified positive developments, outlined areas of concern, and made suggestions for improving those areas of concern. (The reports may be viewed at: ………_)
Permeating the comments is a sense that the key to achieving a truly remarkable association lies in establishing the means for effective communication. Difficulties in understanding and navigating the ALCTS organizational structure and in communicating across sections were noted. The perception that becoming involved in association activities is reserved for a privileged few continues to persist. Although ALCTS collects a variety of data, how and when that data is used for planning and in decision making is not widely known. Greater emphasis on adapting rapidly to changing industry conditions is critical.
After reviewing the reports and the possible next steps outlined in the reports, the Executive Committee decided to concentrate on the following points for the immediate future:
- ensuring that at least one virtual member is appointed to every ALCTS committee (when appropriate) and that virtual members participate fully in the committee’s activities throughout the year
- establishing a mechanism for online exchange of information that will enable interested individuals to engage in online discussion and dialogue on topics of immediate interest and concern
Between now and the Annual Conference in June, I will provide specific details about these initiatives and demonstrate our commitment to improving the channels of communication.
As always, I invite your comments and suggestions.