From the President

Betsy Simpson, ALCTS President 2011-2012

Betsy Simpson, ALCTS President 2011–2012

A Janus Moment

Know anyone graduating this year? Even if you don't work at a campus library and experience all the pomp and circumstance this time of year brings to a school or college, it is easy to get caught up in local community and family graduation celebrations. Put away the confetti, balloons, and noisemakers, and we're left with a real sense that this rite of passage is a bridge between the past and the future, a time to reflect, but also anticipate. Graduation speeches are long on words of wisdom about how to build on prior accomplishments and go forward to live lives that are rich and full: “Follow your dream,” “Take risks,” “Don't give up,” ... The image of Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions, comes to mind, giving us a way to picture the “two-faced,” or dual, nature of milestones like these.

Although no caps and gowns will be donned, ALCTS will have a similar ritual during the 2012 Annual Conference in Anaheim. Outgoing leaders will “pass the baton” to incoming Interest Group, Committee, and Board members, and past activities will be recognized as the foundation upon which exciting new initiatives are launched. At the ALCTS Awards Ceremony we will honor the award winners for their achievements, review the year's progress, and set the stage for what's to come. I encourage you to join in this gala event on Sunday, June 24, 5:30–6:30pm, Anaheim Convention Center, Room 204C.Janus Statue

It's good to remember that all ALCTS members are winners. Through excellent ALCTS’ programs, continuing education events, Interest Group discussions, and e-forums, we benefit from an ongoing dialogue with colleagues about how to improve our libraries in ways that enrich the user's experience. The Annual Conference will again offer a variety of opportunities for ALCTS members to share best practices and brainstorm possibilities for addressing the challenges our libraries face. In particular, I hope you'll mark your conference calendars to attend the ALCTS-ACRL Joint President's Program on Monday, June 25, 10:30am–12pm. Duane Bray, Head of IDEO Global Digital Business, will present a stimulating talk entitled, “Future of the Book: Innovation in Traditional Industries.”

The strategic actions taken by the Board this year on behalf of the association have truly advanced our mission “to shape and respond nimbly to all matters related to the selection, identification, acquisition, organization, management, retrieval, and preservation of recorded knowledge through education, publication, and collaboration.” It has been a pleasure to work with such a dedicated and respected group of Board members, who not only value the incredible legacy of former Boards but also take seriously their charge to keep ALCTS responsive to member needs and well-positioned for the future. To that end, Board business included, among other activities, the following significant steps:

  • Established three new task forces
    • Publishing Review Task Force (Mary Case, Chair): to recommend strategic directions for the ALCTS publishing program, taking into consideration issues in the broader publishing world.
    • Advocacy Task Force (Mary Beth Weber, Chair) to identify what ALCTS members mean by “advocacy,” define ALCTS’ role in advocating for our functions or for libraries, and recommend what steps, if any, ALCTS should take to strengthen its advocacy efforts.
    • Standards Task Force (Cindy Hepfer, Chair) to examine ALCTS’ role in standards development and make recommendations for future standards involvement
  • Monitored the work of the Transforming Collections Task Force (Mary Beth Thomson, Chair) and the Task Force to Convene a Meeting with Library Educators (Tony Olson and Heather Moulaison, Co-chairs)
  • Approved the creation of the ALCTS/LITA Library Code Year Interest Group
  • Approved the creation of an ALCTS/LITA Metadata Standards Committee
  • Appointed a new LRTS Editor (Mary Beth Weber)
  • Implemented Annual to Annual appointment terms beginning Annual 2013 to facilitate virtual participation
  • Approved a Section Review process
  • Approved an ALCTS Endowment Policy
  • Oversaw the by-laws vote to dissolve the Council of Regional Groups

The ALCTS Office played a key role in the realization of these goals—and many more! ALCTS was extremely fortunate to have Charles Wilt, Executive Director Extraordinaire, guiding the association with an expert hand. Again this year, Christine McConnell and Julie Reese were critical to ALCTS' success in countless ways, and Alyssa Novak was a terrific assistant for continuing education.

With my year as president coming to a close, I'd like to express my great appreciation to Cynthia Whitacre for her support, advice, and encouragement. She has been a wonderful role model. ALCTS couldn't have a more committed and intelligent leader! Carolynne Myall's keen insights and caring spirit will help move the association forward on numerous fronts when she takes the helm this summer, and Genevieve Owens will be a tremendous asset to the Board when she assumes her duties as President-Elect.

As we end one ALCTS year and begin another, the essence of the two faces of Janus becomes clear. Aptly describing the crossroad between what was and what will be as the “in-between zone,” Professor Thomas Barrie, during a graduation ceremony in December 2011 at NC State University, elaborated, “You have crossed a threshold today and may view it as the ending of a journey or the beginning of another—or as a place itself, a portal to a limitless world of inner and outer possibilities, resting on the ground of history and personages who preceded you, and upon which you may figure your own place. Pause here—and then journey on.”

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as president. It was an honor and privilege to work with all of you. Hope to see you in Anaheim!

Contact Betsy Simpson (