Letters from ALCTS

charles wilt, alcts executive director

From the Office

Charles Wilt, ALCTS Executive Director

A New Year Bursts Forward

It's always exciting to start a new year. Actually at ALA we have two “new” years. One is when the administrative year, which is July first, when the leadership and rosters change over. The second is the fiscal year which begins September first.

Betsy Simpson, ALCTS President, has already been hard at work for over two months now as have the section chairs. The summer is usually a little slow so work really doesn’t begin until Labor Day is over with. I know because of the number of meetings that I have to go to goes way up. And the number of emails I get from everyone goes way up. Always indicators that the new year has started.

This year, like the last several, will prove to be an exciting time around ALCTS. Much is going on and I want to mention just a few things.

Once again this year, the Board of Directors will be looking at the Reshaping ALCTS initiative to see what needs to be worked on. At least two ideas that were strongly supported in the various data received were for an ALCTS presence in advocacy and standards development. Having groups look at what role ALCTS might play in both will be another step to responding to what you told us was important. We don’t know what the timing will be on these items but Betsy will certainly be looking for people to participate.

One of the issues that keeps rising is virtual participation in the broadest sense, just not serving as a virtual member of a committee or task group. ALA continues to struggle with how to have members involved in the conferences virtually. This is not a particularly easy task nor one that is inexpensive. As with the two areas mentioned above, ALCTS will be taking a close look at how we can engage those who cannot attend conferences or provide for committees and groups who do not wish to meet. One of my suggestions and it flies in the face of how ALA is set up, is to make the first meeting of all groups the Annual Conference meeting having both new members and outgoing and continuing members meet in person. Midwinter then would become an optional meeting since the all important face to face meeting has already been done. I always thought it odd that the biggest meeting we have is at the end of the year and not the beginning. Maybe it’s time we look at how we do our own business.

Transforming Collections will be an ongoing and very important initiative this year. Mary Beth Thomson, who chairs the group, will be shepherding a number of individual initiatives through this year including a program at next Annual. The Board was very supportive of a number of items the task group suggested, so I suspect ALCTS will move forward with those we can.

As you will see develop over the next couple of months and into the spring, Betsy has appointed a group to review our publishing program. This is timely since we have replaced two of our editors, want to revamp ANO, and will be looking a changes in other areas of publishing in the coming year. Mary Case chairs the group and a preliminary report is expected at Midwinter and a fuller report at Annual next year. ALCTS has a certain niche market but it’s time we look at our potential market and our potential content. Do we have the right content? Are we publishing in the right format? And many other questions.

As you can see ALCTS never stands still. We continue to develop new webinars and web courses. Create new publications. Continue to innovate. It is the fabulous work that you, the member, do that makes this all possible.

Charles Wilt, Your Executive Director

Contact Charles Wilt (cwilt@ala.org).