From the Office: A Whole New Year, or Two, or Three

ALA has the peculiar distinction of running on three calendars (or at least those I know of). It is somewhat confusing to the novice member or even the more experienced one.

First there is the committee/governance calendar which starts July 1 and ends the next year on June 30. In most years this coincides with the end of Annual Conference, except of course when it doesn’t, like this past year and this current year. The “year” referring to the governance year. The one that started July 1, but really didn’t due to the lateness of Annual.

Charles Wilt at Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, TN
Charles Wilt at Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, TN

Second is the “official” ALA fiscal year which begins September 1 and ends the next August 31.  While committee and governance activities are getting geared up, the budget is winding down. In July and August, I spend at least some of my time saying “that has to wait until next fiscal year”, meaning waiting until after September 1. So much for the curbing enthusiasm of new Presidents and committees. What can I say?

Then we have the real calendar year, beginning January 1.  This applies to LRTS and the ALCTS News, for the most part, but likely other things if I really thought about it long enough (there are the holidays we get as staff). Again, while the budget for LRTS runs on the fiscal year, the production of LRTS runs on the calendar year.  Issue one is always January, but issue four (October) is actually paid for in the next fiscal year. So how confusing is that?

In the event that you think this doesn’t make sense, you are probably not alone as it has baffled members for decades, but it’s what we live with.

So as we start the new year(s), I wanted to tell you about a few things that might be of interest to you as you look for something to do in your copious spare time.

I will forgo the annual “please volunteer” message. If you want to read one, see my article in March 2013 or the email message from last September. Needless to say, a new year means we will be starting the committee appointment cycle again and your generous dedication to serving ALCTS seems to be more important every year as new things emerge and new opportunities are unveiled.

As usual, the ALCTS Continuing Education Committee has a great array of webinars coming up this fall.  You can check out the offerings under Online Learning on the web site. Spring schedule will be out later in the fall so check back to see what’s happening.  Of course, if you would prefer to venture in the “fundamentals” web courses, those are offered many times during the year. The CE Committee is always looking for ideas for webinars and web courses, so if you have an idea for a webinar you’d like to present or wish to pursue developing a “fundamentals” web course, let Julie Reese ( in the office know and she’ll be glad to help you out.

With Midwinter coming up in just four months (Philadelphia is always a big draw for members), remember to look over the interest group and forum programs that are offered. We’re hoping to make some of those into webinars, so if you see something you like, contact the chair of the IG and ask about doing a webinar on the topic.

I would be remiss talking about a new year without mentioning our publishing program. Now is the time to spend some of the new-found energy associated with the new year on writing that article you’ve always wanted to write for LRTS, publish that book that you’ve been working on but need a friendly publisher to help you finish, or serve as a reporter for the ALCTS News or write a feature for it. Have an opinion or something to say but need a place, consider Z687, our new series of short papers written on things that matter. Check out all that’s happening in publishing. Contact Dina Giambi (, chair of the Publications Committee, or any of the editors listed on the web site.

And don’t forget Preservation Week, next spring. Our fifth anniversary, April 27–May 3, will be special with many events marking the anniversary.  Want to contribute?  We probably have a job for you.  Let Christine McConnell ( in the office know.

As we wind down one year next summer in Las Vegas for Annual Conference, there’ll be lots of programs and events to take in including our virtual and in-person pre-conferences, so keep in touch.  And yes, you wouldn’t want to gamble on missing Annual, so roll the dice and catch the show.

It’s been a busy year and we’ve barely begun. 

—Charles Wilt, Your Executive Director