Letters from ALCTS

mary case, alcts president 2009-10

From the President

Mary Case, ALCTS President 2009–2010

Creating Our Future: A Plan to Restructure ALCTS

In my last column, I mentioned that our goal for this year is to develop a concrete proposal for a restructured ALCTS. Having spent much time soliciting comments about our organization, our next step toward this goal is to take a moment and articulate what ALCTS does—what are the outcomes that we want our organization to achieve? To set these outcomes in context, I am including here the current ALCTS vision and mission.


The Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) is the recognized dynamic leader and authority for principles, standards, best practices, continuing education, and new developments in the selection, management, and preservation of all information resources.


To shape and respond nimbly to all matters related to the selection, identification, acquisition, organization, management, retrieval, and preservation of recorded knowledge through education, publication, and collaboration.


As a professional membership association, ALCTS aims to produce outcomes that are beneficial to both the profession and to its individual members. I derived the outcomes listed below from a study conducted by the ASAE and the Center for Association Leadership.*

For the profession, ALCTS:

  • Provides standards and guidelines that support quality;
  • Gathers, analyzes, and publishes data on trends in the field;
  • Promotes a greater appreciation of the role and value of our functions among practitioners;
  • Conducts research on significant issues in the field;
  • Promotes greater awareness of contributions in the field;
  • Influences legislation and regulations that affect the field;
  • Supports student education and entry into the field;
  • Attracts competent people into the field;
  • Defines critical competencies for people in the field; and
  • Provides awards or recognition for excellence in the field.

For individual members, ALCTS provides:

  • Access to the most up-to-date information available in the field;
  • Professional development or educational program offerings;
  • Opportunities to network with other professionals in the field;
  • Access to products and services relevant to members’ jobs; and
  • Opportunities to gain leadership experience.

Are there other outcomes not listed here that are critical to you as an ALCTS member? What other work does or should ALCTS do to create value for you or the profession? We are eager to hear your suggestions. (Look for a new space called “Creating Our Future” on the ALCTS Connect space. I will post this list of outcomes there and invite your comments.)

To produce the desired outcomes and provide value to its members, ALCTS must have a structure that is relevant to our current and potential members; responds quickly to member needs; shapes, monitors and adapts readily to emerging areas; and is transparent to navigate. The ALCTS Executive Committee is committed to creating such a structure as best we can and has embarked on a process to re-organize ALCTS.

To this end, the Executive Committee with the input of the ALCTS Board of Directors, is developing organizational scenarios that we intend to share broadly before Midwinter. The scenarios will be posted on ALCTS Connect and we will be providing opportunities at the Midwinter Meeting and virtually for discussion and feedback. We will use this input to create a proposed structure in the spring with opportunity for further refinement and, we hope, approval by the Board at the 2010 Annual Conference. Any significant organizational change approved by the Board would then need to be voted on by the membership. During the spring, we will also develop a roadmap for how a proposed new structure would be implemented.

It is too soon to know whether the reorganization will be major or will involve only minor tweaking. But we are committed to creating a future for ALCTS that advances the profession and its members.

*Outcomes adapted from “Supporting the Decision to Join: What Association Boards Should Know and Do About Membership and Affiliation” by James Dalton, ASAE, 2009.

Contact Mary Case (marycase@uic.edu).