Interviews with ALCTS Leaders: Melinda Flannery, Fundraising Committee Co-Chair

What is your full time position?Headshot of Melissa Flannery

I’m Assistant University Librarian for Technical Services at Rice University in Houston. Go, ‘Stros!

What are some interesting things you’re working on?

A very busy spring will include planning for migration to a new library service platform, training on and implementation of a new university position grading system, and continued work on the library’s strategic plan. Creative staff are continuing to press forward in the area of electronic resources and non-MARC metadata, as well as delivering excellent service in classic technical services workflows, including exciting experiments in exposing local Rice content to a broader online audience. I also serve as coordinator for Rice’s professional librarian searches and edit the library newsletter. We’re currently recruiting for a Data and Government Information Librarian.

How did you come to serve in a leadership role with ALCTS? What prepared you, and how did you get the position?

I’m currently co-chairing the ALCTS Fundraising Committee with the amazing and tolerant senior co-chair Harriet Wintermute. I was invited by ALCTS President Mary Beth Thompson to co-chair after filling out the annual ALCTS volunteer form. I’ve been on a fair number of division-level committees and been most active at the section level in the Cataloging and Metadata Management Section. I remember when I first got started in ALCTS in the early ’80s, I volunteered to post flyers for a meeting I was attending as a guest. I just kept hanging out till someone realized I could be trusted to volunteer for tasks and complete them. I’ve tried to keep doing that over the years, plus contribute thoughtfully to various ALCTS discussions. For some years, I’ve also been on the steering committee of the Technical Services Managers in Academic Libraries Interest Group (TSMALIG). I just put a star by my name on the sign-in sheet saying I was willing to serve. I’m also serving in the ALCTS mentor program.

What do you do in your leadership role with ALCTS?

Harriet and I have a great group on the Fundraising Committee. As co-chairs, we track and document the committee’s activities soliciting funds for ALCTS programs, including those for Preservation Week and Preservation in Action. There is some nagging. On TSMALIG, I participate in brainstorming topics for Midwinter and Annual, and sometimes facilitate a topic at our meetings. I try to attend even if not facilitating, in case a last-minute need crops up, and because I enjoy the group and its table conversation format, unusual at ALA.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

In the fundraising role, I guess I’m most proud of maintaining and extending the connections between ALCTS and relevant vendors and bringing in support for ALCTS programs. Harriet is a year up on me and is teaching me a lot.

What are the committee’s future plans?

I love ALCTS and have always found it fertile ground for brainstorming problems, collaborating on projects, and identifying fresh talent. I’m pretty sure I’d do anything I was asked, including taking an intern slot somewhere I’ve not served before.

Do you participate in other professional activities or have other professional interests you haven’t already mentioned?

I’m a member of ACRL (Association of College & Research Libraries) and have dabbled in LITA (Library Information Technology Association) and LLAMA (Library Leadership & Management Association) over the years. I’ve been on LLAMA committees and have served as a LLAMA mentor. I’d like to note the amazing value of personal relationships I’ve built and maintained in ALCTS and ALA over the years. The right sounding board is priceless, and I am blessed with a deep bench.

Tell us a little bit about your family or pets.

My husband Patrick is a lapsed librarian, now in information technology. We met at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans in 1993, at a vendor dinner at Antoine’s in the 1840 Room, where they keep the duck press. We have a 19-year-old son Ben; Bennie the brown dog and Izzy the grey cat round out the crew.

What do you do in your spare time?

I read, listen to an eclectic range of music, watch favorite TV shows and cook. Cooking is a kind of therapy for me, and I need help with a cookbook weeding policy.

What is something unique or intriguing about you that you’d like to share?

I’ve been a lay preacher in various parishes of the Episcopal Church since 1983.

What is your favorite book?

“Diary of a Country Priest” by Georges Bernanos.

Do you have a professional or personal philosophy?

I can’t say I have anything as cohesive as a philosophy, but certain aphorisms recur. As I left my first cataloging job at Duke in 1988, then-Vice Provost Jerry D. Campbell gave me three principles that have stood the test of time:

  • Use what you have before you ask for more.
  • Present solutions, not problems.
  • Know that, whatever you decide, somebody will be mad.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I reorganized my herbs and spices over the holiday break, and my favorite Christmas present was a purse organizer. Once a cataloger…

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