Whether you are a library school student or new library professional, navigating the ALCTS committee-scape can be overwhelming. To illustrate what committee work entails and how you can get involved, Sarah Cruz and Kumiko Reichert of the ALCTS New Members Interest Group (ANMIG for short) talked with committee leaders from each ALCTS section and asked them to tell us first-hand about their roles. Their interview with Andrea Wirth and Jeremy Myntti of the ALCTS Continuing Education Committee is the first of six leading up to the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting.
Introduce your committee.
Andrea Wirth (AW): The ALCTS Continuing Education Committee (ALCTS CE) is responsible for offering professional development opportunities to library professionals. The committee identifies, develops, manages, and facilitates numerous webinars and e-forums each year. Additionally, liaisons for the ALCTS web courses participate in the committee, keeping a connection between the committee and course instructors strong. In 2017–18 the committee offered 29 webinars and 10 e-forums. Web courses now number seven (!) and are offered throughout the year. The current schedule, as well as access to an archive of webinars and e-forums, is available on the ALCTS online learning page.
Our committee is very active and large! A few years ago the committee restructured into a subcommittee and coordinators model where members are assigned specific responsibilities. For example, two members are responsible for developing and managing e-forums, and four to five members participate in webinar development.
The people on the committee are fantastic! Committee members work all year long on all aspects of ALCTS online programming. They are dedicated and enthusiastic, and it’s great to be a part of something that has such a positive impact on the division and library professional development opportunities.Andrea Wirth, ALCTS Continuing Education Committee co-chair
How long have you been part of the committee, first as member and then as chair?
AW: This is my second time serving on the committee. I originally joined in 2013, left to serve in the Collection Management Section, and then joined again as co-chair of CE in 2017.
Jeremy Myntti (JM): I began serving on ALCTS CE in 2014 as one of two marketing co-coordinators. I served in this role until 2017 when I became co-chair of the committee.
Why were you interested in serving on this committee?
,AW: My experience with ALCTS CE started on the Collection Management Section Continuing Education Committee and as an instructor for the Fundamentals of Collection Management and Fundamentals of Collection Assessment web courses. Those experiences made me aware of the larger picture of ALCTS CE opportunities, and I wanted to help more broadly. Also, the people on the committee are fantastic! Committee members work all year long on all aspects of ALCTS online programming. They are dedicated and enthusiastic, and it’s great to be a part of something that has such a positive impact on the division and library professional development opportunities.
JM: Before I began serving on ALCTS CE, I had attended several ALCTS webinars, lurked in many e-forums, and taken one of the fundamentals courses. When I saw an opportunity advertised on an ALCTS email list to help out with marketing ALCTS CE events, I jumped on the opportunity as fast as I could. I wanted to give back to the organization through continuing education since it had already given so much to me through events I had previously attended.
What is the mission of the committee?
JM: The charge of the committee is “to promote, coordinate, and evaluate the development of the association’s continuing education initiatives and offerings; to assist the content experts throughout the association, including the sections, with development and presentation of continuing education offerings and to facilitate their work as needed; to assist in the delivery of continuing education offerings through a variety of techniques and delivery mechanisms; to establish, maintain, and promote a comprehensive curriculum of continuing education offerings; to plan and monitor activities using the association’s strategic and tactical plan as a framework.” Enacting this charge, the committee plans and executes all ALCTS continuing education events such as webinars, e-forums, and web courses.
AW: Just to add to what Jeremy said there is broad range of work that committee members do. For example, some focus on technical aspects of webinars, others identify and facilitate topic development with presenters, and more.
What are the committee’s current or future projects?
JM: Current projects of the committee are to continually identify content for webinars and e-forums as well as review potential new fundamentals courses that could be offered. In order to provide so many continuing education opportunities throughout the year, members of the committee are always actively seeking out new content and ideas to present through our events.
AW: In my experience with ALCTS, this committee is different in that we are generally not project based. Technically each CE activity could be seen as individual projects and to an extent are managed that way. The committee remains focused on the cycle of development and delivery of continuing education events all year.
ALCTS CE would be a great committee for students or new ALCTS members to join in order to participate more fully in continuing education opportunities.Jeremy Myntti, ALCTS Continuing Education Committee co-chair
Are student members encouraged to serve on this committee? Or is it a better fit for professionals with experience in that department?
JM: ALCTS CE would be a great committee for students or new ALCTS members to join in order to participate more fully in continuing education opportunities. Not only do committee members help by finding content for the events, we are also able to participate in these events, providing great continuing education opportunities for all of our committee members.
AW: I agree with Jeremy that this committee welcomes student members. Having members with a broad range of experience on the committee is really helpful.
How time intensive is the committee’s work? What is expected of members?
JM: The work of the committee and each subcommittee is based on the schedule of CE webinars, e-forums, and web courses. At certain times, this work can be quite extensive in order to make sure we have content lined up for future events, planning things behind the scenes by identifying content, and then also helping with technical support during the events. Members of the committee are divided into several subcommittees and coordinator positions including Webinar Development, Webinar Production, Technical Support, Web Courses, E-Forum Coordinators, Marketing Coordinators, and a PARS Liaison to help with Preservation Week.
AW: We really need people who can commit to working throughout the year in partnership with other subcommittee members.
What is the best way for a new member to join your committee?
JM: A new member can join the committee by completing the ALCTS volunteer form and expressing interest in the CE Committee. We also appoint several ex officio positions on the committee each year, so you can express interest directly to us as co-chairs if you are willing to serve in this capacity.
AW: As Jeremy says, choose the CE Committee on the ALCTS form. We’re a fairly large, all-volunteer committee with quite a few spots to fill each year. Also, there are leadership positions beyond the co-chairs position that may be unique (or at least not as common with some other committees). For example, each of our subcommittees has a chair or co-chairs so this might appeal to anyone seeking a role beyond member.
Do you see the committee’s duties or mission evolving if ALCTS, LITA, and LLAMA merge?
JM: Since ALCTS continuing education events have been so successful in the past, I see our committee providing leadership in imagining how continuing education events could represent aspects of ALCTS, LITA, and LLAMA.
AW: To add to what Jeremy said, I think it will be a great opportunity to work with colleagues in LITA and LLAMA, and I think our model of CE events management is one that would serve a new division well. Content-wise, if these three groups merge as expected, the possibilities are practically endless, so that’s exciting!
The ALCTS Continuing Education Committee meeting at ALA Midwinter 2019 will take place on Sunday, January 27 at 1:00 p.m. Typically, the meeting is only attended by committee members, but it’s not a closed meeting. Anyone is welcome!