Letters from ALCTS

Cynthia Whitacre, ALCTS president 2010-11

From the President

Cynthia Whitacre, ALCTS President 2010–2011

ALCTS Restructuring!

My two immediate predecessors as president, Dina Giambi and Mary Case, both wrote in ANO about restructuring ALCTS, and now it is my turn to write on that subject. About one year ago, ALCTS proposed three scenarios for member consideration along with a survey. Since then, a Task Force (TF) composed of John Duke (Chair), Susan Davis and Tim Strawn analyzed the survey results and submitted a report with their conclusions. The ALCTS Board devoted extensive discussion time to their report at ALA Midwinter. The report will soon be posted on the ALCTS web site.

In the survey results, about 10 percent of the respondents selected the green scenario (maintaining the status quo), while the rest were split between red (changing the existing section structure) and blue (flattening the organization) scenarios. Most indicated a desire for something in between the red and blue scenarios. There is a clear consensus that change is desired by the membership, but there is no consensus regarding exactly what shape that change ought to take.

The TF recommended that ALCTS proceed with incremental change, rather than radical change, and the board has agreed to that approach.

Let me clearly state that no structure will be imposed on ALCTS by the Board. For example, one of the scenarios proposed merging the current Continuing Resources Section (CRS) into the other existing sections. The CRS membership clearly expressed their opposition to that. Therefore, it will not happen. Instead, the Board wants to move forward with organic change that arises from within the membership.

A great deal of restructuring is happening that has strong membership support including:

  • An Interest Group (IG) Coordinator has been appointed. This idea was the most popular across all scenarios in the survey. Dale Swensen agreed to serve a three-year term as the first ALCTS IG coordinator. Look for his first article about IGs elsewhere in this newsletter.
  • Formation of new IGs is being encouraged. The most recent IG to be approved by the ALCTS Board is a joint LITA ALCTS IG on Linked Library Data, co-chaired by Karen Coyle and Corey Harper.
  • The Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) completed restructuring and streamlining their section a few years ago. See the PARS web site for a run-down of their current structure.
  • The Collection Management and Development Section (CMDS) is in the process of becoming the Collection Management Section (CMS). See their web site for restructuring details.
  • Most recently the Council on Regional Groups (CRG) voted to dissolve and become instead an ALCTS division-level Affiliate Relations Committee. As a result, you will notice that there is no ballot for CRG officers when you receive your ALA ballot this spring. ALCTS Bylaws changes resulting from CRG’s decision are being prepared and will be sent out for ALCTS membership approval later this year (early autumn timeframe expected). The new Affiliate Relations Committee will officially begin their work in July, immediately following the Annual conference in New Orleans. This brings a new excitement and energy to the mission of that group.
  • ALCTS is working on a plan to revamp the in-person meeting schedule for both Midwinter and Annual to allow more emphasis on content (IGs, forums, programs) and less time devoted to governance meetings. Specifics are in process and all sections have been asked for input. If agreed to by the Board at Annual this year, the new meeting schedule will be implemented starting at the 2012 ALA Midwinter Meeting (next year).

Look for a new draft ALCTS strategic plan between now and the 2011 ALA Annual Conference that will focus on a few areas for improvement and action by ALCTS (some or all of which arose as part of the restructuring discussions), rather than the traditional comprehensive strategic plan approach. We hope to further incremental change through working on the goals laid out in this plan. Together, we will continue to evolve while remaining a vital organization that continues to be responsive to its membership.

Contact Cynthia Whitacre (whitacrc@oclc.org).