By Linda Shippert
It may seem an exaggeration to describe a board meeting as thrilling – especially one which starts at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning - but there were a number of exciting developments at the New Members Round Table Executive Board Meeting at American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference that made it, well, kind of a thrill to be there.
Vice president/president elect Nanette Donohue announced that her presidential theme will be "Thinking ahead: the future of library leadership." She is establishing two midwinter-to-midwinter task forces. One is an Internships Task Force, which will create a clearinghouse for information regarding internships in other divisions and round tables. The other is a Marketing and Branding Task Force, which will work to increase participation in and awareness of New Members Round Table. She is also working on committee appointments.
Additionally, Nanette is planning a series of online leadership lectures. These will be one hour long each, and available online to all. She is also planning to create an online orientation, which will include introductions to different divisions and round tables.
Attendees at the Board Meeting were also treated to presentations by the two ALA Presidential Candidates. Nancy Davenport’s ideas for supporting new membership include starting a tradition of holding a recruitment fair, increasing the availability of travel grants to ease the financial burden of committee membership, and increasing involvement of support staff. Candidate Jim Rettig expressed particular concern about attrition in the 45 and under demographic. He is also interested in issues of library advocacy, intellectual freedom and privacy, and diversity. Jim has ideas for bringing many of the independent blogs and communities into American Library Association, which would provide new opportunities for Association participation.
The meeting was also visited by John Chrastka, American Library Association Manager for Membership Development, who discussed his ideas to expand welcome and orientation events for first-time conference attendees.
A tribute resolution in honor of Spectrum’s 10th Anniversary was approved by the board. Appreciation was expressed for this successful diversity program.
Committee reports included a common theme of striving for financial efficiency, as well as an announcement that we have 2200 members, up from 1800. Other highlights mentioned were the 3M/NMRT Social Committee, which has a special challenge in preparing for the next social, since an important contact is no longer working for 3M. They are working to develop guidelines and a timeline for the process, as well as a program of apprenticing co-chairs to ensure smooth transitions. Many thanks were given to Catherine Collins for preparing an excellent budget. She and assistant treasurer Amy Fergus were also able to attend training described as "ALA Finances 101."
Attendees at the Board meeting included NMRT President Amanda Roberts, Past President Nadine Flores, Vice President/President Elect Nanette Donohue, Secretary Kara Whatley, Treasurer Catherine Collins, Assistant Treasurer Amy Ferguson, Leadership Director Michelle Millet, Member Services Director Katie Dunneback, Outreach Director Samantha Hines, Library History Round Table Liaison Andrea Cheney, ALA Liaison Kim Sanders, and several other visitors.