Federal Librarian Fall 2010

Greetings From the President

FAFLRT’s Initiatives for 2010/2011

I want to extend my greetings to all of you.  I am honored to serve as President of the Federal and Armed Forces Libraries Roundtable and hope to serve you well during this year.

We are building upon a very successful year.  As can be seen by Past President Richard Huffine’s article in this newsletter, we provided the ALA community with a great set of programs and activities at ALA Summer.  The programs showcased the broad range of work done by federal and armed forces librarians -- from the essential work done at our military bases by librarians who serve our troops and military families during this time of war to the work done by our specialized and national libraries to create the new digital infrastructure to create the nation’s universal collection of knowledge.  As always, the Careers in Federal Libraries preconference was a particular success.  The preconference serves a dual purpose of assisting job seekers in navigating the federal hiring process as well as highlighting the varied and interesting work done by federal and armed forces librarians.  The Careers in Federal Libraries preconference has become a great marketing tool to “get the word out” on why we love our jobs.  I want to thank everyone who was involved in the programs, preconference, and post-conferences at ALA Summer for their outstanding work. 

I would also like to acknowledge our Past President, Richard Huffine, for the exceptional work he has done with our fundraising efforts which allowed us to complete the year with a balance of about $15,000.  This is quite an accomplishment given the precarious financial situation we have been in the past.  As one of his assignments as Past President, Richard will continue to lead our fundraising activities.  I am sure that he will be able to increase our financial strength in the coming year.

For this year, I would like to focus on three critical areas.  First, I would like FAFLRT to continue to provide excellent programming at the ALA Summer conference.  To this end, the FAFLRT Board is soliciting volunteers to chair and serve on the Program Committee.  The Board has already come up with some possible programs that would be of interest to our membership and the broader library community; however, I know that all of you have great ideas for us to consider as well.  Please feel free to share your thoughts with me via e-mail at kdeb@loc.gov.

With our finances in good shape and our programming strong, I believe we need to focus on two additional areas this year -- building our membership and enhancing communications within our group and to the outside work.  As a starting point, the FAFLRT Board has charged a new Membership Committee to begin looking at ways to increase our numbers and engage with our communities.  You will hear more about the work of the Membership Committee in the weeks to come.

We also want to assess the mechanisms through which we currently communicate with our membership.  Over the last few years, we have made great advancements in using social media technologies to keep our members informed of new initiatives, activities, and issues in federal librarianship.  The official ALA website for FAFLRT (http://www.ala.org/mgrps/rts/faflrt/index.cfm) is the best place to look for information on the activities of our round table.  From the ALA FAFLRT site you will find links to the Board minutes, newsletter, information on programs and initiatives, information on our governance structure and awards, a handy brochure you can download and give to people interested in our group, and links to our new social media presences.  The ALA FAFLRT website also includes information on joining the FAFLRT listserv – one of the more tried and true services we provide to our membership where we post announcements of programs, new initiatives, and general topics of interest to our community.  If you are a FAFLRT member and have not yet joined the FAFLRT listserv, I encourage you to do so. 

In the area of social media technologies, we have created the FAFLRT President’s blog (http://www.faflrt.ala.org/president/) where we post information on our new initiatives (such as the Rising Stars Program) and topics of interest to federal librarians, a Careers in Federal Libraries Google Group (http://groups.google.com/group/careers-in-federal-libraries) that includes job postings and useful information on how to find a job in federal and armed forces librarianship, and a FAFLRT Slideshare site (http://www.slideshare.net/faflrt) with links to presentations from FAFLRT programs and meetings.  We have also created a FAFLRT Facebook presence that currently has 64 fans and a Twitter account as well.  Information posted on the President’s blog is automatically fed to the Facebook and Twitter accounts.  About the only thing we have not done is create a presence on ALA Connect.

FAFLRT has done an excellent job of establishing a presence in the new social media networks that will allow us to share information with our membership and other interested parties.  However, it takes a lot of time and resources to maintain these numerous venues.  One of the key initiatives I hope to work on in the coming year with the FAFLRT Board and all of you is to ensure that we are using these new technologies in the most effective manner possible.  We need to ensure that we keep our Internet presences “alive” with interesting content.  The Board and Membership Committee will also need to assess whether we should move forward on use of ALA Connect in the coming year.

If we are unable to manage all of these presences, we need to determine which are the most effective tools for communication and focus our energies on those tools.  We have a large membership, so maintenance of these presences does not have to fall solely on your Board members.  If you have a particular interest in management of new social media technologies, please contact me and I am sure we will be able to find a way for you to assist us as we develop our new communication mechanisms.

While communicating through the Internet is great, I still like face to face communication.  I would like to explore with you the possibility of establishing regional meetings of FAFLRT members.  While I know many of you work in places where that would not be possible, there are clusters of federal and armed forces librarians in cities and regions throughout the world.  We need to consider ways to bring together our membership beyond the two ALA meetings and our Internet presence.

As I said above, I am looking forward to this year.  Feel free to contact me at kdeb@loc.gov with your ideas on how to continue to make FAFLRT a vital organization that assists you in being the best federal and armed forces librarians for your users that you can be.

Karl Debus-Lopez, President

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