From the President: ALA Annual 2019 in Washington, DC

After a cool and wet spring, it’s hard to believe that summer is arriving, but yet here we are just a week and half away from the ALA Annual Conference, starting on June 20, in Washington, DC. Although to some of us, it may feel like the conference was held in DC just last year, ALA Annual is returning to the city after eight years away. Washington, DC always offers unparalleled opportunities to explore our government institutions and national treasures, often for no cost at all—from the National Mall, to Smithsonian museums and pandas at the National Zoo. Of course, we shouldn’t overlook the chance to take a trip to the Library of Congress either! This summer ALCTS will add to the cultural riches of our nation’s capital by offering conference attendees a wealth of programs and learning opportunities during Annual Conference.

View from above showing researcher desks.
Main Reading Room, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Catalog.

First, if you are in DC on Friday, there are two excellent ALCTS Preconference Workshops being held all day. An additional registration fee is required, but it is not too late to sign up. “Better Networking for Disasters: Improving Participation and Coordination for Disaster Response and Recovery of Cultural Heritage” offers an opportunity for attendees to learn about disaster preparations and responses, using the disaster response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico as a case study. Organized by the Preservation Administration and Reformatting Section (PARS), with support from the ALA International Relations Office and the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Work (FAIC) National Heritage Responders (NHR), we are delighted to be able to bring in Hilda Teresa Ayala Gonzalez, Cecilio Ortiz and Johnny Lugo Vega from Puerto Rico to speak on this topic. “Change Management in Libraries and Technical Services,” highlighting an area of intersection between ALCTS and LLAMA, will offer participants skills on leading their institution and themselves through change. Offering a powerhouse line-up of eight speakers from academic institutions around the country, participants will come out of the workshop able to articulate what change management encompasses, identify ways to lead change, manage their own responses and engage others in change initiatives.

Speaking of change, on Monday afternoon, June 24, from 1:00–3:30 p.m. the Board of ALCTS, LLAMA and LITA invite all interested individuals to a joint board meeting and discussion. During the past year and a half, the three divisions have been imagining how they might join together to create a new division to support a broader range of members throughout their careers and be more responsive to changes occurring within the broader library and information landscape. While we have had to extend our original timeline, after a short break, conversations have resumed between the leadership of the three divisions. This joint board meeting will be an opportunity to update members on activities to date and our new timeline for creation of the new division, as well gather input from participants as to the best way to go forward. Whether a member of ALCTS, LITA, LLAMA, or all three, or even if you are not a member at all, we are very interested in gathering input from you and invite you to attend.

ALCTS, LITA, and LLAMA have been imagining how they might join together to create a new division. A joint board meeting will be an opportunity to update members on activities to date and our new timeline for creation of the new division, as well gather input from participants as to the best way to go forward.

Included within your conference registration are sixteen programs and numerous discussions from ALCTS’ 41 interest groups. It’s hard for me to cover everything in this short article, so I encourage you to peruse the descriptions of the programs put together by the ALCTS staff and use the Conference Scheduler to look up interest group discussions of your choice. Programs cover a wide range of topics, including issues around digital collections, including preservation issues for podcasts; resource sharing for streaming video; using analytics to better assess and encourage use; the 29th anniversary celebration of the cataloging tool, MarcEdit; and staffing and change within different areas of technical services.

ALCTS will be holding its Annual Awards Ceremony and Membership Meeting, Saturday, June 22, from 5:30–7:30 p.m. Every year I love cheering on our colleagues who receive awards!

New to ALCTS or just wanting to get some further information about the Association? Come to ALCTS 101, an annual event held Friday evening, June 21, at 7:00 p.m. Organized by the ALCTS Membership Committee and New Members Interest Group, ALCTS 101 is your chance to learn a bit more about the association, ask questions and participate in round table discussions about the Association’s activities, structure and future. I encourage you to come with questions regarding our new division conversations with LITA and LLAMA, as well. Plus, there will be refreshments and door prizes!

Every year I love cheering on our colleagues at the ALCTS Awards Ceremony and Membership Meeting!

I am delighted to have as this year’s President’s Program speaker Marcia Chatelain, associate Professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University. Professor Chatelain will share research for her upcoming book, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, which “tells the story of black capitalists, civil rights leaders and even radical nationalists who believed that their destiny rested with a set of golden arches. And it tells of an industry that blossomed at the very moment a freedom movement began to wither.” Chatelain is also author of Southside Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration. The session will be held on Monday, June 24, at 10:30 a.m. Special thanks goes to OCLC for sponsoring this event.

Finally, if you are still around on Monday evening, the Washington, DC Chapter of the Special Libraries Association has partnered with ALCTS to offer a “Post-ALA Technical Services Recap/Dine Around” at Farmers and Distillers. This is your chance to participate in good food and drink with fellow librarians and debrief around technical services, RDA and video streaming, as well as catch up on highlights from the conference. Space is limited to 15 people, and the cost per person is $15–$25 for entrees. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 24. To learn more and RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Mason.

I look forward to seeing everyone in DC and wish you all safe travels.

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