From the Office

Charles Wilt, ALCTS Executive DirectorCharles Wilt, ALCTS Executive Director

Oh No. Not Another Volunteer Message

Afraid so.

You have seen a good number of messages go out through various means extolling the virtues of volunteering for ALCTS. In case you haven’t, I’ll only give you the link to the volunteer form here. Go and fill it out to become involved in the greatest division in ALA (so much for modesty): Or if you go to the ALCTS home page, click the “Volunteer” tab at the top.

What you may not know is how many opportunities we have to get involved in ALCTS. I’m going to tell you, so you can too be wowed by the ways you can get involved.

Starting with division-level ALCTS committees, there are eighteen committees at the division level, meaning committees like Budget and Finance, Organization and Bylaws, and Leadership Development, which provide members a really unique chance to see how ALCTS operates and how these groups contribute at the highest level. All these committees report to the ALCTS Board, which oversees all the work of the committees. Committee sizes range anywhere from five to fifteen people. In addition, the Continuing Education Committee (CE) has subcommittees for things like tech support for the webinars. This means a lot of people can be involved.

If you are not interested in a division level committee, the different sections of ALCTS also offer many valuable opportunities for experience on their committees. The number of committees in a section varies, so check the website, however, there are currently thirty-six section committees that need people. Even if you say the average number of members is seven, that again is a lot of people. As with the ALCTS CE committee, some of the section committees have subcommittees working on specific projects. The Preservation Section also has working groups, such as the Preservation Week working group that manages ALCTS’ Preservation Week in April.

If you can't commit to conference attendance or are concerned about the time involved in committee work, consider volunteering on an award jury. ALCTS has thirteen award juries: five at the division level, and eight at the section level. Award juries only work virtually and only in the fall of the year, since their selection must be submitted prior to the ALA Midwinter Meeting. Juries are smaller, generally around four members, but if you have limited time, award juries are a great choice.

At the division level, ALCTS currently has three task forces working. We add more on a regular basis as the need arises and the Board needs work done. Task forces are formed for a specific purpose with a specific time limit on their work, sometimes six months, some times a year. Current task forces are addressing ALCTS' role in standards development, advocacy, and an ongoing one on transforming collections. A publishing review task force completed their work last summer.

I leave interest groups for last, not because they are less important. On the contrary, interest groups produce necessary and important programming at both the Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference. They also provide a way to be involved in a very specific area tailored to your interests. If you are interested in getting involved in an IG, show up at the meeting and talk with the current chair about getting involved. Can’t be at the meeting? Contact the chair via e-mail. (Tip: if you log in to the ALA website, you can access contact information on the committee and IG rosters on the ALCTS webpage). Interest groups are always looking for people to get involved. And there are certainly plenty of them to choose from! There are forty-five interest groups in total – nineteen on the division level and twenty-six among the sections.

Not mentioned above, but equally valid ways of contributing are by publishing, developing programs, and presenting sessions in the continuing education program. Contact the chairs of these committees for more information.

Just so you can see all the ways you serve, here is a summary:

Committees and working groups: 57 total, 18 division and 39 section

Awards juries: 13 total, 5 division and 8 section

Interest groups: 45 total, 19 division, 26 section

That's a total of 115 different groups that need volunteers! Find them all on the ALCTS website: Click on Member Groups and Communities to find committees and interest groups.

It’s up to you to take advantage of what ALCTS offers its members for meaningful and enriching opportunities. Don’t miss out. Volunteer today.

Charles Wilt