From the President: Honey, ALCTS Is Home!

Readers of Carolynne Myall’s columns last year will recall how much we all enjoyed photos (and stories) of her dog agility pursuits. This ALCTS President has a foxhound named Baxter, but he’s more given to napping than being, well, agile. Like Carolynne, however, I’ve devoted a good bit of my free time and money to my own hobby: collecting vintage items for my home. It all started when I was beginning my library career, when I discovered that vintage furniture is usually of better quality and more affordable than new. One piece led to another, followed by kitchenware and tableware and linens and lots more that caught my fancy. I use the Jane Ray Jadite dishes you see on this baker’s cabinet just about every day. There almost isn’t room left for cute salt and pepper shakers. And then there’s my weakness for “Home Sweet Home” items. I know they’re corny—yet they make me feel so safe and cozy.

Genevieve Owens and her vintage items
Genevieve Owens at home.

ALCTS has been my professional association home for many years now. During the appointments process this spring, the section chairs-elect and I truly enjoyed finding places in that home for the bumper crop of ALCTS members who volunteered to serve on committees. Those volunteers represented a wonderful cross-section of ALCTS, from our most experienced members to ones just starting out with our association. The appointments process also gave the section chairs and I a wonderful opportunity to get to know our members better. I was particularly charmed by the interactions with our newest members, who answered emails in minutes and are so very eager to dive into ALCTS. Thank you for that energy and enthusiasm; we need every bit of it!

No Eye-rolling in This House!

When then-ALA-President-Elect Barbara Stripling was planning the Annual Conference inauguration brunch, she asked each of the division presidents-elect to come up with five words to describe our aspirations for our presidential year. I will admit that my first inclination to this request was to roll my eyes. However, having a teenage daughter in my home makes me realize that eye-rolling is not a particularly constructive response to anything. So I thought and consulted with my Executive Committee colleagues. We quickly decided that “Don’t mess with ALCTS, dammit,” while most tempting, was similarly immature.

So I thought about the big picture for our association and chose these five words: Financial stability. Organizational flexibility. Excellence. And, jingoistic as they may sound, those words really do characterize a lot of what we’ll be doing in the coming year. We’ll be focusing on generating revenue, not for its own sake, but to allow us to do the things we want to do for our members and our profession—particularly in light of ALA’s financial challenges. We will continue to refine and revitalize our organization by reviewing the ways we deliver programming and focusing on ways to address both standards and advocacy. Finally, we will celebrate our own excellence. Our Executive Director Charles Wilt recently reminded me that we changed our name from RTSD to ALCTS in 1989. That means ALCTS turns 25 in 2014! While the celebration will not be anywhere near as elaborate as our Golden Anniversary, a Silver Anniversary should not go unnoticed. I look forward to a festive 2014 with you.

Comings and Goings

A past-president never really leaves ALCTS. Still, the passing of the gavel at Annual Conference marked the end of Past-President Betsy Simpson’s term on the board. Thank you, Betsy, for your three years of exceptional service to us. That same moment marked the end of Carolynne Myall’s presidency. As I remarked at the meeting, I was particularly struck by two aspects of her term. First, Carolynne cares deeply about what our member volunteers think and synthesizes those perspectives for the benefit of our association. Second, she is absolutely tireless about drafting documents that help us codify practices and have the most informed face-to-face discussions possible. Thank you, Carolynne, for your leadership last year. I’m delighted you’re continuing on the board as our wise and experienced Past-President. Finally, I extend a warm welcome to ALCTS President-Elect Mary Page. Mary, you’re in for a wonderful ALCTS experience!

Up Next

While I became acquainted with many ALCTS members through the appointments process, there are lots more for me to meet. I’d love to hear from you —just email me at We can discuss anything ALCTS or, if you prefer, a mutual enthusiasm for all things vintage. Next time, I’ll be coming to you from my tiki bar!

Genevieve S. Owens
ALCTS President 2013–2014