From the President, July 2017: Fortunate Beyond Measure

Seems to me, we have celebrated this diamond anniversary year in pretty grand style. ALCTS members and staff presented some very special events to mark the occasion. The ALCTS Exchange Working Group created an all online event consisting of four days of live streaming presentations, posters, lightning rounds, and a companion website. We topped 100 registrations, pretty evenly split between individuals and groups. Half of the registrants were first time ALCTS event attendees, and 12 people became ALCTS members when registering for the event. Over 300 user accounts were created, providing access to the archived live streamed content, discussion forums, and presenter materials. The event brought in over $17,000 in net revenues. The focus was on diversity, equity, and inclusion when selecting content delivery methods, program developers, and topics. The level of creativity shown by presenters was remarkable, and was greatly facilitated by the development work of the Working Group members. One notable example now available as open access on the ALCTS YouTube Channel, is the presentation by Hannah Buckland, Decolonizing Catalogs in Tribal College Libraries. If you haven’t already watched it, please do. It will be among your best spent half hours this year. We have two reports on the event, from the Working Group and from the Staff, so we are very well positioned to take some valuable lessons forward from this event.  

Photo of conference badge, ribbons, and ALCTS tiara

A forum at Midwinter, provided by the ALCTS 60th Anniversary Steering Group, brought together a panel of ALCTS leaders sharing personal histories and organizational achievements. A 60th Anniversary e-Forum in mid-June members to consider the impact of ALCTS on careers and personal lives. These events celebrated the lifelong friendships rooted in ALCTS, outreach to welcome new members, and giving back to the profession through our many ALCTS programs.  The Steering Group also coordinated a $60 for 60 fundraising campaign with every donor recognized as a Diamond Donor. The campaign exceeded all expectations, raising over $17,000 by Annual. The winner of a friendly competition between the ALCTS sections over which would have the highest percentage of participation was the…….Continuing Resources Section! Congratulations to CRS. It is noteworthy that the ALCTS Board led the way with 100% participation in this personal giving campaign.

The ALCTS Mentoring Program, our first at the division level, got off to a rousing start this anniversary year. The Mentoring Subcommittee of the Leadership Development Committee matched up 41 mentor/mentee pairs. An online orientation session was held and recorded on May 30th. The mentoring year got underway June 1 and runs thru April 30, 2018. Members of the Mentoring Subcommittee are acting as liaisons with assigned program pairs and will be checking in with them throughout the year.

Financial sustainability for ALCTS has been on our minds and in our Strategic Plan for many years. By minding expenses, working smarter, and increasing revenues in some projects, we hope to end the fiscal year only a few thousand in the red. This would at least match the performance of last year. After prior years of five figure deficits, our efforts are making headway and we are headed in the right direction. While we are in better financial health, our situation is not yet financially sustainable. Revenue in fundraising and continuing education is over budget, but down in other areas, including membership dues. Following a recommendation from the Budget and Finance Committee, the ALCTS Board voted at Annual to increase membership dues by 15%, exempting students. Effective September 1, 2017, personal dues will be $75 and institutional dues will be $86. ALCTS has not increased its membership dues since 2007. Budget and Finance also recommended that ALCTS adopt a mechanism for regular review of dues by the Board and tie future increases to a consumer price index, as other ALA divisions have done. The Board passed a separate motion calling for an annual review of dues, with future adjustments no higher than the percentage change in the most current Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) rounded to the nearest dollar. These two actions should move ALCTS toward a more financially sustainable position.

This past year, we’ve felt the need to become more explicit and deliberate around our core values of equity, diversity, and inclusion, both at the ALA level and within ALCTS. We created several opportunities this year for ALCTS members to engage with these issues. The MW Symposium, the ALCTS Exchange, an e-forum on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Library Technical Services, and the Virtual Preconference on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Metadata were among them. We’ve worked to reduce barriers to participation and presenting for programs in meaningful ways that included having the Exchange be an all online event, and by hosting recorded presentations. In support of the Spectrum Scholars, we offered free registration for our MW Symposium and for the Virtual Preconference. A dozen Scholars attended the MW Symposium and three dozen participated in the Virtual Preconference. We need to continue to offer free or subsidized registration to Spectrum Scholars for a variety of ALCTS programs, and look for additional ways to support this group of colleagues. At the Annual meeting, the Board adopted a Diversity Statement to stand alongside our Mission statement. You can view the ALCTS Diversity Statement, and share it with others, by visiting our website. We need to continue to move quickly to support such efforts in the future.

At the Annual meeting, ALCTS partnered with the Public Library Association (PLA) and the American Indian Library Association (AILA) to sponsor the program Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice in Technical Services. Also at Annual, we invited the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) to partner with us for a Joint ALCTS/LLAMA Presidents’ Program. Our speaker was Chicago’s own Dorri McWhorter, who serves as the CEO of the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. The YWCA takes eliminating racism and empowering women as its mission. This socially-conscious business and social change sector leader wanted to turn that mission inward, to create a workplace where everyone has value. They eliminated the annual performance appraisal process and put into place a possibility partners program. In weekly conversations, people are supported by their partners rather than reporting to a supervisor. As part of her presentation, she asked the audience to rise, raise our right hands and take a pledge--"Today I serve the world by being my most empowered self! I leverage my whole self and appreciate others for doing the same! In being our whole, empowered selves, WE improve the world!" I especially appreciated her powerful message of organizational change partnered with personal commitment.

For me, the highlight of the ALCTS year is our Saturday evening gathering at Annual. The ALCTS Awards Ceremony is an annual celebration of excellence, a time we set aside to honor our own and gratefully acknowledge another successful year for ALCTS. As President of ALCTS, the opportunity to stand with our honorees as they receive acknowledgement from their peers is humbling. I will not soon forget this particular evening. There seemed to be more family and friends from outside of ALCTS at this year’s celebration, and that added to the joy of the event. This event would not be possible without the generous support of our awards sponsors, many of whom have a long history with ALCTS. They make it possible for ALCTS to celebrate our innovators in a worthy manner. Charles Wilt gets a special shout out for his matching campaign to help support funding the awards.

In looking back at the accomplishments and direction of ALCTS over this past year, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that volunteer members and a handful of exceptionally talented and extremely dedicated staff made all of these things (and so much more) possible. Much of the ground work for this year of celebration was laid during the previous year. Under the leadership of Norm Medeiros, ALCTS President 2015-2016, committees were set to working on programs that successfully came together this past year. This pattern of building on past work is essential to our ALCTS story. We carry plans forward, we add our part, and pass them onto the next group of volunteers and staff. Our ALCTS staff members, Keri Cascio (Executive Director), Julie Reese (Continuing Education & Meetings Manager) and Brooke Morris (Communications Specialist), each deserves more thanks than we can ever give them. Over the course of 17 years, Julie Reese has played a huge part in our shared story of ALCTS. Julie is headed for a new position outside of ALCTS and ALA. Her most recent award for efforts above and beyond was a Presidential Citation (her second) presented at Annual, that lauded her “extraordinary ability to transform visions into tangible, successful programs.” Her commitment to providing the very best of herself to every ALCTS event is incomparable and we thank her for her considerable contributions to the success of ALCTS. Best wishes on your new position.

My heartfelt thanks go out to my fellow Executive Committee members, who provided wise counsel and helpful levity throughout the year – Mary Beth Thomson (President-Elect), Norm Medeiros (Past-President), Andy Hart (Division Councilor) and Keri Cascio (Executive Director). To the ALCTS Board for your kind attention and insights. Most especially, thank you to the members and staff of ALCTS for your patience and support as I attempted to do my part in assuring a bright future for our organization.

I am truly fortunate beyond measure to have served as President of ALCTS, and humbled by the knowledge, skills, and commitment of those with whom I have served.

Over to you, Mary Beth!

Vicki Signature







By Vicki Sipe, ALCTS President, 2016-2017