From the President: Quiet Village? I Think Not!

In my inaugural column, I shared my passion for vintage home decor. This quarter, as promised, I’m coming to you from my Tiki family room. It features the requisite bar (plus a bamboo bar cart—heaven forbid anyone go thirsty in this house), Atomic Age lamps with fiberglass shades, a copy of Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink (I’m a cookbook junkie, too), paint-by-number scenes of the tropics, and my collection of Royal Copley parrot and cockatoo figurines. There’s also a copy of the vinyl album Quiet Village: The Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny on display. The cover is fabulous and the music transports you to a Mad Men audio fantasy version of the South Seas.

Genevieve Owens in her Tiki family room.
Genevieve Owens in her Tiki family room.

Uncharted, exotic territory reminds me of the title of our upcoming Midwinter Symposium, Here There Be Dragons: Providing Public Access to Federally Funded Research. It will examine ways of addressing the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s 2013 memorandum directing Federal agencies to expand public access to the results of taxpayer-funded research.

Olivia Madison, ALCTS Past-President and Chair of our Advocacy and Policy Committee, recognized very early on that the OSTP directive speaks forcefully to ALCTS areas of expertise. Specifically, those areas are creating, collecting, organizing, delivering, and preserving information resources. My terrific President’s Program Committee (Matthew Beacom, Chair; Erica Finley; Daniel Lovins; David Miller; and Lori Robare) and I worked with Olivia to develop the symposium. This year, it is being co-presented by ALCTS and bepress Digital Commons. We are tremendously grateful for bepress’s generous support. You can register for the symposium online. On an interesting side note, the UC Santa Barbara Department of Geography tells us that while many medieval maps used images of dragons at their corners, there is only one map which bears the Latin inscription HC SVNT DRACONES (hic sunt dracones; “here are dragons”). It’s the Lenox Globe (circa 1510) housed at the New York Public Library. As I am wont to say, “Who knew”?

Speaking of things vintage, ALCTS is celebrating our own milestone in 2014. This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of our name change from the Resources and Technical Services Division to the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services. Check out Executive Director Charles Wilt’s piece on this item from last month. Can you believe there was a time when we thought that logo was hip?! It’s almost as embarrassing as my, well, never mind….

Quiet Village album cover
Quiet Village album cover.

ALCTS may have some vintage elements, but we are contemporary and forward-looking, too. This year, we have launched a new Standards Committee, chaired by Jacquie Samples. The committee will help us “provide ongoing education to ALCTS members and other interested individuals in the information industry about relevant standards and to actively promote member involvement in the standards development process.” We enjoy a culture of continuous renewal, as well, one in which we regularly re-examine who we are and what we do. This year, the focus turns to our programming work with a Programming Review Task Force chaired by ALCTS Past-President Cynthia Whitacre. We are also propelling ourselves forward as an association with a new Strategic Plan being developed under the leadership of Planning Chair Meg Mering.

When I think about ALCTS, I am reminded of things old and new, those known and unknown. ALCTS is not a Quiet Village. It’s a bustling community of member-volunteers navigating our way through these two, co-existing realms. I’m grateful to everyone who’s involved in charting our course, whether it’s in the thicket of territory we know or strange, dragon-infested corners of the map (Latin inscriptions be damned!). Next time, I look forward to greeting you from my Art Deco living room!