From the President: Our Path Forward

Sometimes our path forward is clear and easy to follow. More often than not, however, the path curves and hides what comes next. Walking an unknown path can be both exciting and unsettling. This past year ALCTS has been exploring a potential new path forward, trying to glance beyond the curve to determine how best to position ALCTS for the future. As part of that process, we’ve discussed and examined the challenges facing ALA and the sustainability and future of ALCTS.

A curving road in the shade of the lush trees and shrubs on either side.
ALCTS’ path forward may include forming a new division with LLAMA and LITA. The Board will continue to explore this possibility during fall 2018 and will vote at the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting whether to bring the question of the proposed division to a vote by ALCTS members. Photo by Mary Beth Thomson.

Our exploration of a possible path forward has included ongoing discussions with the Library & Information Technology Association (LITA) and the Library Leadership & Management Association (LLAMA) about the possibility of the three divisions forming a new single division.

Just prior to the 2018 ALA Annual Conference, ALCTS Board members reviewed and discussed a number of preliminary reports. These reports were developed as an initial step towards providing ALCTS, LITA, and LLAMA members with additional information concerning the possibility of a new division. During the ALCTS Board meeting on Friday afternoon of conference, the Board voted in support of devoting “the necessary staff time and resources through fall 2018 to continue development of a potential new single division.” The Board also voted that “a final decision on sending the question of the proposed division to a member vote in spring 2019 will be made at the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting.” Then on Monday afternoon of conference, we held a joint meeting of the ALCTS, LITA, and LLAMA Boards to begin exploring our shared thoughts, assumptions, and perspectives on a possible new division. The preliminary reports, other informational documents, and a recording of the joint board meeting are available from the ALCTS/LLAMA/LITA Alignment site on ALA Connect.

This is an important time for ALCTS as we continue to plan our path forward and as we work to provide our members with a broad spectrum of programs, services and events. There is a great deal of work ahead of us during the coming months as we strive to develop the concept and structure of the possible new division. Watch for more announcements on a variety of opportunities for you to participate in these discussions. I encourage you to join the ALCTS/LLAMA/LITA Alignment community, review the available documents, and post your comments or questions. Your thoughts and insights are vital to a successful outcome and to the future of ALCTS regardless of whether we decide to form a new division or not.

In closing, a very special thank you to all of the 2017–2018 ALCTS Executive Committee members, Vicki Sipe (ALCTS Past-President), Kristin Martin (ALCTS President-Elect), Erin Stalberg (Division Councilor), and Keri Cascio (ALCTS Executive Director). Your leadership, guidance, encouragement, thoughtful questions, suggestions, discussions, and ongoing help throughout the year were invaluable. To the ALCTS Board members, who, when asked to consider a structural realignment and the future of ALCTS, were thorough and deliberate in your discussions and decisions—for all of the work you do in support of the association, thank you so much. Speaking of the work involved with ALCTS, I also want to thank Brooke Morris, communications program officer, and Megan Dougherty, continuing education program officer, for all they do for us every day.

Finally, my thanks to all of you for making ALCTS such a rich and engaging association and community. Serving as President of ALCTS has been a privilege and such a wonderful experience. Thank you for the opportunity to be involved in the work and governance of ALCTS with all of you.

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