When I started work as executive director of ALCTS in January 2015, it was like coming home.
After joining ALCTS in 2006, I evolved from member to Emerging Leader, served as chair of the Continuing Education Committee, and ultimately was elected director-at-large on the ALCTS Board of Directors. ALCTS has been my professional home for most of my library career.
Next week I move on to a new chapter in my career as assistant chief of technology, content, and innovation at the Chicago Public Library. In this position I’ll be working with technical services, collection development, special collections, and digitization. While I’m excited to work in a library again, I will truly miss working closely with you all.
ALCTS members achieved many wonderful things during my tenure as executive director. They stood up for changes to the ‘Illegal aliens’ Library of Congress Subject Heading; created competencies for cataloging and metadata professionals and acquisitions professionals; launched the ALCTS Exchange online symposium; and founded the Preservation in Action program. We also celebrated our 60th anniversary in style, and members made generous donations to support the work of the association.
ALCTS brought equity, diversity, and inclusion work into sharper focus over the past few years. We established the Lois Mai Chan Professional Development Grant, invited Spectrum Scholars to attend our symposia and online preconferences at no cost, and awarded registration grants to library school students and library support staff. Presentation and publication topics in this area included the future of library collections, diversity and inclusion in preservation, and the ethics of cataloging.
ALCTS and ALA are also moving on to new chapters. ALCTS is continuing its discussions with the Library Information and Technology Association (LITA) and the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) to create a new division of ALA. I believe in this project, and I feel like we can build a new division that will be member-focused and responsive to the evolving needs of library workers. ALA itself is undergoing multiple studies concerning membership, governance structure, and information technology services. The outcome of this thoughtful work by members and staff will ensure that ALA can continue its mission to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.
I plan to continue my ALA and ALCTS membership, and I expect to work alongside you again in the future as a colleague and friend. Members are the heart and brain of any association, and I have found ALCTS members to be dedicated, passionate, and generous with their time and expertise. You are simply the best.