Letters from ALCTS

Betsy Simpson, ALCTS President

From the President

Betsy Simpson, ALCTS President 2011–2012

Stormy Weather

"Get Caught in Our Brainstorms!" Now that’s one storm where umbrellas aren’t needed, in fact it’s best to leave them at home. This sound bite captures the heart of ALCTS, don’t you think? ALCTS members collaborate, coordinate, even commiserate at times, to push forward on so many fronts. Wrapped up in the Downtown NOLA slogan is the energy and creativity of the New Orleans community, but it could just as easily be said about ALCTS. The Annual Conference offered the opportunity for in-person brainstorming about everything from RDA to PDA, but ALCTS members gather year-round to participate in ALCTS e-forums and webinars as well as to conduct association business. In fact, ALCTS’ round-the-clock commitment insures that the association remains responsive in a constantly changing world.

The new ALCTS strategic plan, approved by the Board at Annual, highlights this brainstorming spirit. Initiated this year, the plan allows ALCTS to focus efforts in the following key areas:

  • explain what we’re about and what we do;
  • improve how we operate;
  • sustain ALCTS as a vibrant, relevant organization;
  • support standards development, implementation, and dissemination.

ALCTS sections, division committees, and interest groups will consider where their current work fits into the plan and how they can contribute through future endeavors. Some organizations let their strategic plans gather dust – not so for ALCTS. The plan will be reviewed annually by the Board and serve as an organizational touchstone, adjusting as necessary to meet new demands.

Among those areas targeted for Board attention this year are:

ALCTS Publishing

Thanks to the contributions of many ALCTS volunteers, ALCTS has an active publishing program of great benefit to the division membership. With all the changes happening in the publishing world, this seems like an opportune time to take a macro-level look at how ALCTS fits into the larger publishing landscape. To that end, there are plans underway to establish a task force to recommend future directions for the publishing program to assure we’re in the best position we can be moving forward.

Transforming Collections

The ALCTS Transforming Collections Task Force is off and running. Formed in response to ALA’s strategic plan goal to provide leadership in the transformation of libraries and library services in a dynamic and increasing global digital information environment, the Task Force has identified a number of activities for ALCTS to consider. In addition, a 2012 Annual Conference program sponsored by the Task Force is in the works, so stay tuned!

Virtual Participation

With tightening budgets, it’s becoming harder for ALCTS members to accept appointments that require conference attendance. While it’s true that ALCTS award juries operate completely in a virtual mode and ALCTS committees work virtually between conferences and often have a virtual member, the expectation for many committees is that the members will gather during both conferences. The Board is going to look at potential changes with the appointment process that could lessen or eliminate this on-site expectation, unless, of course, it’s absolutely necessary in order for the committee to function. In addition, there’s a need for virtual meeting guidelines as well as tips for including virtual members at in-person meetings.

Reshaping Survey

Much work has already been accomplished in response to the Reshaping survey (see Past President Cynthia Whitacre’s recap). Advocacy, an issue of continuing importance throughout ALA, was mentioned in the survey, although the comments suggested varying interpretations of what advocacy means within the context of ALCTS. It could be beneficial for ALCTS to charge a task force to examine this area more closely to determine ALCTS’ role vis a vis advocacy. Standards is another area that was noted in the survey comments. Creating a task force to assess ALCTS’ involvement in the development and advancement of standards could be a helpful next step to pursue.

It’s going to be a busy year as usual! Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Contact Betsy Simpson (betsys@uflib.ufl.edu).