Letters from ALCTS

m. dina giambi, alcts president 2008-2009

From the President

M. Dina Giambi, ALCTS President 2008-2009

Communicate, Share, Participate!

The ALCTS membership represents a broad and diverse spectrum of all sizes and types of libraries as well as consultants, educators, retirees, vendors, etc. Members possess a wealth of experience and expertise whether they are newcomers to the world of libraries or veterans. They come from all fifty states and a number of foreign countries. Within ALCTS, they may belong to none, some, or all of the five sections: Acquisitions, Cataloging and Classification, Collection Management and Development, Continuing Resources, Preservation and Reformatting and participate in the work of the Council of Regional Groups.

This is no longer the pre-Internet era when attendance at conferences was the only vehicle by which members could interact with one another. The work of the association was conducted in person with some activity occurring between conferences by individual telephone calls and via mail. Conferences, along with printed publications, were the only sources of information for learning of new research and trends. Even hot news items were slow to be disseminated. The environment within which the association carries out its mission has changed dramatically.

Technology has offered many more opportunities to share ideas and information. One news item posted on a blog or website can reach countless individuals within seconds. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds can be used to provide automatic updates of new information on pre-selected topics customized individually. Tried and true email continues to offer the ability to share information quickly. ALCTS must continue to explore and utilize new methods of communication that encourage the exchange of ideas and engage more members.

An example of a new initiative was the launch of the ALCTS e-forum on May 14, 2008 which focused on a discussion of communication. In general, the participants agreed that a combination of all the available tools would offer the utmost flexibility. Communication and information sharing styles are different and those needs and preferences should be acknowledged and addressed.

Over the years, communication has been discussed often by my predecessors and Charles Wilt, ALCTS Executive Director. Yet effective communication is such a fundamental aspect of any successful organization that it bears repeating. There are many opportunities to participate in online and in person discussions, to contribute actively to the work of a committee, and to publish in the association’s refereed journal, Library Resources & Technical Services.

Whether you work in a public library in Homer, Alaska or New Orleans, Louisiana; an academic library in Hilo, Hawaii or Moscow, Idaho; a special library in Seattle, Washington or a state library in Dover, Delaware, share your thoughts and ideas!

The ALCTS elected officers, committee and interest group chairs, and I look forward to hearing from you. http://lists.ala.org/sympa/info/alcts-eforum