Focus On: ALCTS New Member Interest Group

The Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) is a diverse division within which many types of librarianship exist and thrive. That being said, despite the many possible differences among us, all ALCTS members have at least one thing in common: all were new members once.

images from ANMIG events
photo credit: Debbie Ryszka and Elyssa Sanner

We certainly remember that feeling of being new; standing with our newly printed name badges and ALA tote bags—in this year’s color—and being completely overwhelmed by the options and programs from which we could choose. It was followed shortly by a sinking feeling that we would never get the hang of what seemed effortless to other attendees. Luckily for us, we came across a group that helped us get started and became the springboard for our involvement with ALCTS. Today, we are the leaders and co-chairs of that same group, giving back and investing in new members in much the same manner in which we were invested.

Background

The ALCTS New Members Interest Group (ANMIG) is an active community focusing on the interests of new ALCTS members and new library and information professionals. It was established in September 2009 at the request of the ALCTS Board of Directors. The board saw a need for an interest group that could provide special programming and support for new members; meeting their professional development interests, providing them with knowledge and guidance on the organization, and fostering the next group of ALCTS leaders and active professionals ensuring the future and growth of ALCTS. ANMIG is led by a board of officers that works to organize interest group meetings at ALA conferences, connects new members to the larger ALCTS division, develops virtual events throughout the year, and communicates the wants and concerns of new members with ALCTS.

Activities and Events

ANMIG is organized as an interest group in ALA’s structure. Being an interest group allows us flexibility in programming and focus. The interest group hosts two big events every year, one each at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference.

Midwinter Meeting

The ANMIG meeting during Midwinter is a low-key event geared toward matching established ALCTS members with new or prospective members. In the past, we have simply paired mentors to mentees and turned everyone loose. This year, we are excited to try a variation of this format. The highlights of ANMIG events are stories from new members who share their experiences about job searches, presenting at conferences, starting the tenure process, getting started with professional involvement, and other firsts. And, when you think about it, there is no one better to offer advice and counsel than someone going through or who has recently gone through the process. We hope to have breakout sessions where new members can ask questions of each other and share what they are working on. Each group will have an established ALCTS member, too, to help answer questions. So much of the traditional conference model is sitting and listening; we are hoping new members will enjoy the opportunity to dialog and exchange ideas. If you are attending Midwinter, we would love to have you join us on Saturday, January 25 at 10:30 a.m. (room TBD).

Annual Conference

During Annual, ANMIG partners with the ALCTS Membership Committee to host ALCTS 101. ALCTS 101 provides new or prospective members the opportunity to explore all that ALCTS has to offer. The program’s main component is a speed-networking portion where attendees can rotate among tables staffed by representatives from each ALCTS section, as well as ALCTS Publishing, resume reviewers, and a how-to-get-involved table. This networking portion allows anyone interested in joining or anyone that is new to ALCTS the opportunity to talk with current members to explore all the options offered by the association. If you are a new member or are interested in joining ALCTS, we encourage you to meet with us at ALCTS 101 in June.

Monthly Chats

ANMIG also hosts monthly topical chats for new members. Past chats have included “Office Hours,” which is a Q&A with ANMIG Officers and veteran ALCTS members about NMIG and ALCTS, “Navigating ALA Midwinter,” “Navigating ALA Annual,” “Interviewing for Technical Services Positions,” “Presenting at Conferences,” “Careers in Technical Services,” and “Navigating a New Library.” Each month's chat explores topics of interest to new members and professionals. The topics are driven by what we perceive as being relevant for ANMIG members. We are always seeking ideas for future chat topics, so please feel free to contact us to suggest topics if you have one.

Get Involved

New members have a lot to offer and bring to the table, but it is sometimes difficult for them to get to that table due to the overwhelming options. ANMIG strives help new members get to the table–to come alongside them and help them as we ourselves were helped. If that sounds like something you would be interested in becoming involved with, we would love to grow our interest group. There is no cost for membership—it is included with your ALA/ALCTS memberships. Join as a volunteer or simply as a member. ANMIG communicates through its ALA Connect site and also through various social media platforms, all of which are listed below. Connecting with us in these mediums is the best way to learn about our events. We welcome members of all levels of experience from the new member wanting to get involved with ALCTS and learn about the value of professional engagement to the established ALCTS member interested in helping and investing in new members. Join us!

Find Us Online

—submitted by Erin E. Boyd and Emily Sanford, Co-Chairs of ALCTS NMIG