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 Chris Dieckman, chair of the ALCTS Cataloging & Metadata Management Section (CaMMS) Recruitment & Mentoring Committee, is the fifth of six leading up to the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting.
What would you like new ALCTS members to know about you?
I am chair of the CaMMS Recruitment and Mentoring Committee. I earned an MLIS from Kent State University in 2013, and I am currently a metadata and cataloging librarian at Iowa State University.
Our committee is focusing on advancing the process of recruitment and mentoring within the cataloging community. The committee no longer arranges relationships between mentors and mentees—this is now done at the division-level; however, it assists by developing guidelines, creating resources to help those entering the field, and promoting communication among the cataloging and metadata community.Chris Dieckman, chair of the CaMMS Recruitment & Mentoring Committee
How long have you been part of the committee, first as member and then as chair?
I started as an intern on the committee in September 2015 and became a full member in June 2016. I have been serving as chair since June 2017.
Why were you interested in serving on this committee?
I was new to ALCTS, and fairly new to the profession, when I joined as intern in January of 2016. After joining the organization, I was told there was an open internship on this committee, which I thought would be a good way to begin involvement in ALCTS. I was also interested in this committee because I felt my status as a new professional could provide me a useful perspective on recruitment and mentoring.
What is the mission of the committee?
Our committee is focusing on advancing the process of recruitment and mentoring within the cataloging community. The committee no longer arranges relationships between mentors and mentees; this is now done at the division-level. However, it assists by developing guidelines, creating resources to help those entering the field, and promoting communication among the cataloging and metadata community (e.g. e-forums and webinars).
What are the committee’s current or future projects?
The committee is currently arranging an ALCTS e-forum for the spring of 2019 on mentoring in libraries. We are also considering hosting a webinar on a related topic. Several past projects have included hosting an e-forum on cataloging and metadata education and creating career profiles of individuals working in cataloging, metadata, and related fields.
Is there a mentoring program for ALCTS members? If so, how can a member participate?
Yes, there is a mentoring program for ALCTS members. Those interested, either as mentors or mentees, complete a formal online application, which usually opens at the beginning of the year. Mentors and mentees are then paired, and an orientation is held before the process begins. Again, it should be noted that this is handled at the division-level, not the section-level; thus, our committee is not directly involved in pairing potential mentors and mentees.
Are student members encouraged to serve on this committee? Or is it a better fit for professionals with experience in that department?
I would encourage both student members and experienced professionals to participate in this committee. While basic knowledge of metadata and cataloging is needed, this committee does not require advanced technical skills, unlike say the Cataloging Committee on Cataloging: Description & Access. That said, I think the committee would operate most effectively if the majority of members were working professionals.
How time intensive is the committee’s work? What is expected of members?
I don’t consider this committee to be highly time intensive. Most work involves participation in projects. Minimally, members are expected to participate in discussions regarding project planning and other future committee work. They are also asked to communicate with other members via ALA Connect and, if possible, attend committee meetings at Midwinter and Annual.
What is the best way for a new member to join your committee?
Most new members join in the spring when ALCTS puts together the rosters for various committees. Individuals select the committees they are interested in when completing the ALCTS volunteer form. In addition, anyone is welcome to contact me to express interest in the committee, and sitting in on our meetings at conferences is encouraged.
Do you see the committee’s duties or mission evolving if ALCTS, LITA, and LLAMA merge?
I am not a member of LITA or LLAMA, and I am less familiar with their structure and activities than I am with those of ALCTS. That said, I imagine the role of CaMMS, and by extension this committee, would expand to incorporate greater focus on new technologies and upcoming trends. This may be valuable as I know of several non-traditional metadata librarians who are members of LITA but not ALCTS.