My ALCTS Experience

Cheryl Kern-Simirenko, The University of Akron

My career began at Syracuse University with an appointment as Slavic Bibliographer, and my primary professional affiliation was with the ACRL/Slavic and East European Section. As my position responsibilities expanded, however, I began to mine ALA meetings for content to support broader collection management functions. The Collection Development in Academic Libraries Discussion Group proved to be a valuable network for exploring a range of relevant issues, including the then emerging area of electronic resources. In 1992-93, I served as chair. Organizing timely discussions, jump-started by thought-provoking panelists, was both challenging and rewarding. On the lighter side, I recall a working lunch with past and incoming chairs where, after concluding our business, we composed imaginary, impolitic letters in response to real-life complaints we had received as collection development officers. Continuing education and camaraderie!

In 1991, Linda Gould recruited me to serve as an intern on the North American Title Count (NATC) committee for the 1993 count. Little did I know how many years I would be devoting to production of the NATC as a result of saying yes to Linda! I served on the 1997 count committee, chaired the 2001 count, and subsequently chaired Quantitative Measures in 2002-03. These efforts brought rewarding opportunities to mentor younger collection management librarians (some might say they were caught in the web).

As NATC chair, I appeared before the fearsome Budget and Finance Committee, an experience that led to my appointment as CMDS representative on – you guessed it – Budget and Finance for a two-year stint. I then agreed to serve two more years as chair. Exploding calendar syndrome marked the term as chair, but the bonus, of course, was the opportunity to meet so many ALCTS colleagues, both on the Board and in other venues, as well as my counterparts in other divisions.

Currently, I have the honor of serving as the ALCTS representative on the Hugh Atkinson Memorial Award Jury. The moral of this story: don’t be afraid to volunteer, don’t hesitate to say yes. We are ALCTS and together we create the future of our profession, building valuable professional networks and rewarding personal friendships along the way. Just say yes to ALCTS!