In 2008, I had joined an ALCTS committee for the first time and had no idea what I was doing....
From the President: ALCTS and Opportunity
It’s 10:30 a.m. You’re checking a bibliographic clean-up project, prior to a library system migration. Uh oh: Did some records just get cleaned out of existence? How can we recover them, pronto? But wait, here’s a call from Reference. Students are being shut out of a database, the very one that Professor X needs at this moment for an upper-division class. Looks like University Accounting didn’t cut that renewal check in time! (Who knew the vendor could move so fast?) And now the scanner is misbehaving, delaying progress on a digitization project. As the student assistant demonstrates the problem, she mentions that she just got a better job. What next?
On days like this, it can be hard to think beyond the immediate demands of our jobs—to think about the possible futures of library service, or even about our own professional development. But we need to do so, if we want to create a better future for library service or for ourselves as professionals. ALCTS gives us opportunities to put our experience in context, to grow professionally, and to grow our profession. I have greatly benefited from the opportunities ALCTS made available to me, and I hope all of you will take advantage of them too. A few opportunities to consider:
Opportunity to Learn. ALCTS offers webinars, online courses, and e-forums, all at reasonable or no cost, and programs and discussions at ALA conferences. Check out our website for upcoming events, and see older CE programs free at the ALCTS Continuing Education YouTube channel.
Less formally: There are many opportunities to learn leadership and management skills by doing, through participating in our organization. For example: want to know more about strategic planning? Get involved in ALCTS’ innovative planning process.
Opportunity to Lead. Don’t see the continuing education topic you need? Make it happen. ALCTS interest groups are engines of programming, and they are always looking for participants and leaders. Find an IG in Chicago and start planning the event you imagine. Volunteer for a committee. Run for office.
Opportunity to Publish. There’s Library Resources & Technical Services (LRTS), our world-class peer-reviewed journal. With the revitalization of ALCTS’ publishing program, there are many other opportunities as well. Our Publications Committee is looking for varied kinds and lengths of publications. Attend our Saturday afternoon program at Annual Conference, “Publish with ALCTS!” or visit the Publications and Resources page on the ALCTS website to learn more about publishing opportunities.
Opportunity to Define the Profession of the Future. Here is the place where ALCTS really shines. ALCTS groups participate in defining best practice and setting the direction of the profession. As you will see when you read our Annual Report in LRTS, we’re expanding ALCTS’ role in standards development, in advocating sound policy related to information and libraries, and in helping members demonstrate the value of their services. Please use these opportunities.
The Level Playing Field of ALCTS. What’s more, ALCTS provides a pretty level playing field for participating in these opportunities—not perfect, but good. I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for this. ALCTS leaders come from all over the country, from many kinds and sizes of libraries, and have jobs at all levels of library organizations. ALCTS is not a closed operation! If you have a contribution to make, you can find an opportunity to make that contribution in ALCTS.
Thank You for the Opportunity. I never imagined I would have the opportunity to serve as president of ALCTS. I’m still surprised by it. (But then there’s that weird level-playing field….)
Thank you to the ALCTS Board; to Betsy Simpson, my extraordinary predecessor; to Charles Wilt, our Executive Director; and to the ALCTS staff, for all your help and patience. I look forward to working with Genevieve Owens, who will be a great president, and with Mary Page, who is bringing her insight to the Board as president elect.
It has been an honor and a delight to work with so many of you, and see you in action. I am grateful. Thank you for this opportunity.
Over to you, Genevieve!
Carolynne Myall, email@example.com