From the President, October 2017: ALCTS Then and Now

Fall in the Kentucky bluegrass is a wonderful time of year. I took this picture on a recent Saturday morning, and as you can see, the horses, busy enjoying their morning, were still happy to have their picture taken. Maybe the shorter days and crisper air inspire a sense of joyful productivity, making fall an energizing, but especially busy, time of year for ALCTS and all of us.

Horses grazing on Kentucky bluegrass

Part of celebrating ALCTS’ 60th anniversary this past year has been acknowledging what ALCTS means to all of us and recognizing the accomplishments of everyone who committed their time, energy, and expertise to establishing ALCTS as the foremost association for collections and technical services. For 60 years and counting, ALCTS’ membership has been comprised of leaders and experts willing to give of their time and expertise. My thanks to all of you for making ALCTS such a rich and engaging community!

As we turn our attention to the year ahead, we will be looking at how best to move ALCTS forward, continuing to build upon the association’s foundation and striving to ensure ALCTS is strong, vibrant and financially stable. Your generous gifts in support of our 60 for 60 fundraising campaign are an essential element of our ability to support a number of programs—including free registration for Spectrum Scholars to our Midwinter Symposium, the Emerging Leader and Board intern programs, and the new mentoring program—and to improve the overall financial stability of ALCTS.

ALCTS’ strategic plan includes a goal of improving outreach “to under-represented and under-involved groups (support staff and students) to encourage their participation in webinars and online meetings.” This year, with your support, we are launching a Midwinter Symposium registration grant program for staff and students. This grant program will provide a wonderful opportunity for up to 5 support staff and 5 library school students to participate in our 2018 Midwinter Symposium in Denver. If you know of someone who would be interested in applying please let them know about this year’s program and ask them to fill out the grant application form. And I hope each of you will consider giving to ALCTS, in any amount possible, in support of this year’s grant program and our 60 for 60 fundraising campaign.  

Speaking of the Midwinter Symposium, this year’s program is “Empowering Access and Ensuring Accessibility: Connecting People to Information and Collections.” This symposium will explore the landscape and horizon of collections and technical services work as it contributes to access and broad accessibility to stimulate knowledge creation, to foster innovation, and to empower libraries to have a transformative role in society. If you haven’t yet purchased your ticket, I hope you’ll consider joining us for what is going to be an informative day. Stay tuned for more information about the symposium’s program and speakers within the next few weeks.

As with this year’s registration grant program, the ALCTS strategic plan helps us focus our energies and guides us in areas of importance to the association. The current strategic plan was adopted in 2015 and is due to be reviewed and updated this year. The Board has once again tasked the ALCTS Planning Committee with reviewing, updating and recommending to the Board a revised strategic plan to be approved at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The Planning Committee will be reviewing our progress during the last three years and gathering input from the membership as they move forward with revising the current plan.

For many the last few months have been difficult. During difficult and stressful times, often our greatest sources of comfort and help are our family, friends, and colleagues. Time and again ALCTS members have shared their expertise and knowledge with others by answering questions, helping to solve a particular problem, discussing a current issue, or sharing grief or happiness. I hope that as a member of ALCTS you have a sense of the strength and support available to you through the ALCTS community.

If you have a question about ALCTS or an idea you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you.

By Mary Beth Thomson, ALCTS President, 2017–2018