There has not been a lot of activity these last couple of weeks. I got three of the four members of the Nominating Committee 2014 appointed. There were a couple of hiccups in the appointment system along the way that Executive Director Mary Taylor worked out for us.
I am still trying to identify a chair for the 2014 Forum Committee, which will be in Albuquerque next fall. If you are interested in serving on the Forum planning committee and haven’t completed the appointment form yet, please do! If you have completed it, rest assured your information is captured, and I will put you to work!
If you’re curious about a committee that I haven’t yet talked about, please do email me if you haven’t already. I’m happy to answer questions!
I have asked LITA staffer Melissa Prentice to send me the results of the two surveys that were sent out after the Town Meeting in Seattle. I will analyze these and share information with the Board (and with you); my goal is to have an organized (maybe even prioritized!) list of things that we know LITA does right as well as suggestions for future directions. Thanks to EVERYONE who participated in Seattle and online.
LITA’s Executive Committee (President, Vice-President, Past-President, Councillor, one Director at-Large) meets virtually next week to share updates on various plans and initiatives. Interested in listening in? Tweet or comment your interest! The agenda is available on Connect.
I forgot to do this on Friday! Last week, LITA Staffer Melissa Prentice published two surveys aimed at gathering information about the Town Meeting in Seattle last month. The first survey was aimed at those who attended, in person or virtually. The second was aimed at anyone who did not get to attend who would like to engage in the two exercises that we did, the Appreciative Inquiry exercise and the Re-Imagining LITA exercise. If you haven’t already completed either or both, please do! This means you!
Also last week was an online Board meeting, where we approved the members of the Nominating Committee (the only committee whose membership must be approved by the Board), approved the draft FY2014 Budget (which will be approved in final form at Annual, and which we will start spending Sept 1, 2013), and agreed to discuss a dues increase proposal on Connect.
This week, I will make the Nominating Committee Appointments in the ALA Database (think: 21st-century paperwork) and begin working in earnest on appointing people to the Forum 2014 Committee. That year’s Forum will be in Albuquerque, NM–I can’t wait!
I know I will never have adequate words to describe the joy you bring to my life. All I’m left with is the scant “I love you,” and so I promise to tell you every day, in the hope that they will one day add up.
Every day that we are apart is a long and tough day, but today is especially long. I can’t wait to see you again, my love.
Created a survey to embed to solicit feedback from all members regarding re-imaging LITA. Will ask Mary Taylor to email to all LITA members. Several board members tested it and gave feedback. Created a survey for getting feedback from those who attended the LITA Town Meeting in Seattle, in-person and virtually. Sent that to the Board list for feedback. Both surveys will go out next week using ALA’s Survey Monkey account.
Found a chair for next year’s Nominating Committee! Wheeee!!! The membership of this committee will be submitted to the Board for approval at our February 15 meeting. This is the only committee whose membership is approved by the Board. Kinda glad about that, but at the same time would like to get more eyes on the appointments process. I’m thinking about how to get that done. It’s totally opaque at this point–i.e., it’s only as transparent as the person conducting it.
I took notes as I did LITA stuff this week. I don’t have a comprehensive Midwinter update for you, but I will be posting about various stuff from that over the next few weeks. So, here’s what has happened since I got back from Seattle. It strikes me that this is an awful lot of detail, so count this an experiment in radical transparency. What do you think?
This week, I:
- Implored the Board to share ideas for ALA office and councillor with the Nominating Committee, of which there are three LITA members: Adriene Lim, Karen G. Schneider, and Andrew Pace.
- Passed on an idea for having LITA-member-only conference update webinars to Education, Forum, and Membership. Thanks to Bohyun Kim for the idea for a great LITA member benefit, a category we are trying to beef up. Education will talk about this at their next virtual meeting. (in the process, a great chat around this idea with Andromeda Yelton.)
- Touched base with our emerging leaders team to thank them for helping at the Town Meeting and to see if they have questions. They’d also like to coordinate with Bylaws since that committee will be updating the LITA manual–I passed that on to Dale.
- Identified two of the three members of our nominating committee for this year (this happened in Seattle, actually). Working on the third and will have the members to approve for the Board at the next virtual meeting (tentatively Feb 15?).
- The Night Circus, Erin Morganstern
- Back from the Brink, Don Catherall
- Catching Fire and Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
- The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach
- Bloodroot, Amy Greene (could not finish)
- The Tiger’s Wife, Tea Obreht
- Rocket Surgery Made Easy, Steve Krug
- The Elements of User Experience, Jesse James Garrett
- Library User Experience (SPEC Kit), Robert Fox
- Raving Fans, Blanchard & Bowles
- The Age of the Platform, Phil Simon (did not finish)
- State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
- The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides
- The Cuckoo’s Egg, Clifford Stoll
- Mend it Better, Kristin Roach
- The Rook, Daniel O’Malley
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan
- The Dog Stars, Peter Heller
With apologies for cross-posting… I’m determined to get your eyeballs on this!
One of my duties as LITA VP is to participate in the Committee on Appointments, which recommends names for appointment to several ALA-level committees. The deadline for volunteering for an appointment that will begin after Annual Conference 2013 is November 2. Appointments are generally for two years, but there are some exceptions.
Please also note that these are ALA-level, and NOT LITA committees, though you can volunteer for LITA committees using the same form, and of course, I urge you to! These are also not the Committees of the ALA Council.
Click the name of each committee below to read its complete charge and current roster, or view all Committees of the Association.
Committee on Accreditation
“To be responsible for the execution of the accreditation program of ALA, and to develop and formulate standards of education for library and information studies for the approval of council.”
American Libraries Advisory Committee
“To review and recommend editorial policies for American Libraries and to provide oversight for the implementation of those policies. To communicate with, and operate within, the frameworks established by the ALA Publishing Committee. To serve as a channel for member communication regarding the scope and coverage of American Libraries.”
(a very long charge, including administering the “ALA General Awards”) View all ALA awards, scholarships and grants. Recognize the hard work of your fellow librarians!
“To develop and recognize chapters as integral components of ALA. To encourage discussion, activities and programs that support the mutual interests of ALA and the chapters.” (and more!)
The charge involves policy work regarding conferences, but perhaps more interestingly: “To review recommendations of specific sites and dates prior to their presentation by conference services to the ALA executive board; and To recommend to council and to ALA staff a means for communications with the membership to hear their concerns about conference and meeting procedures and policies.”
Constitution and Bylaws
“To consider amendments to the constitution and bylaws; to review and draft rules for the conduct of council and membership meetings; to review and draft rules for the preparation of resolutions, memorials, and tributes; and to make recommendations to the association in accordance with the provisions of articles xi and xii of the constitution.”
“To monitor ALA elections for association officers, councilors, and constitution and bylaws.” Importantly: “To consist of six ALA members who agree to travel to ALA headquarters at no cost to the association.”
Human Resource Development and Recruitment Advisory Committee
“To advise the Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (formerly Office for Library Personnel Resources, OLPR) on activities, problems, and procedures related to library concerns in such areas as recruitment, utilization, education and training, and staff welfare….”
Information Technology Policy Advisory Committee
“To advise the Office for Information Technology Policy on priorities, policies and strategies for the Association that promote the development and utilization of electronic access to information. To provide an ongoing channel for member communication, working closely with other units, committees and officers of the Association in matters touching information technology.”
Committee on Literacy
“To develop and recommend the association’s policies related to the promotion of literacy…”
Literacy and Outreach Services Advisory Committee
“To offer policy guidance to the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services; to advise and assist the Office in establishing programs and priorities; to examine and assist in coordinating the various relevant programs and activities with ALA; to recommend new programs; to provide a channel through which membership may make recommendations; to issue reports; and to promote any other activities that will improve the quality of library services to the rural and urban poor and to ethnic minority groups.”
To establish general policies, programs, and procedures to secure new members; to be responsible for the implementation of these programs; to coordinate membership promotion activities of all units and chapters of the association; to coordinate the ALA committee internship program; to make recommendations concerning membership dues; and to serve the association as a sounding board on membership”
Membership Meetings Committee
To plan the agenda for the membership meetings specified in ALA policy 7.4.10; to identify potential discussion topics for the membership meetings; to educate the membership about the purposes of the membership meeting and the opportunities it offers members; to identify and recommend incentives for attendance; to advise staff on logistics for membership meetings; to oversee publicity plans for membership meetings; to assess the effectiveness of the membership meetings in addressing the ALA membership’s needs; and to recommend changes in light of that assessment.
Public and Cultural Programs Advisory
“To serve as an advisory committee to the ALA Public Programs Office. To promote excellence in cultural programming; to assist library staff to become more effective providers of cultural programming; to identify and disseminate resources for cultural programming; and to promote the cultural communities fund.”
Research and Statistics
“To facilitate research and related activities in all units of the association, especially activities related to library statistics; to advise the ALA council and executive board on programs, policy, and priorities regarding research and related activities;” and much more!
Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds Committee
“To review issues and challenges facing rural, native and tribal libraries of all kinds; to collaborate with other ALA units addressing the needs of rural communities; and to serve as an advocate for and partner with libraries serving rural, tribal and native populations.”
Scholarships and Study Grants Committee
“To make recommendations to the executive board and the ALA council on all policies relating to ALA scholarships, study grants, conference sponsorships or research grants to be made or sponsored by ALA and its units. It shall administer the general scholarships, study grants, conference sponsorships, and research grants presented in the name of the American Library Association, known as ‘ALA general scholarships and study grants.’ all ALA general scholarships and study grants shall exist to advance study or knowledge in library science.” …and much more!
Training, Orientation, and Leadership Development Committee
“To plan and coordinate training, orientation, and leadership development for member leaders at all levels across the association. To inventory training and orientation modules in divisions, round tables, and other association groups. To coordinate the ALA committee internship training program.”
Website Advisory Committee
“To develop, review and recommend to council association policies for the ALA website. To recommend editorial or structural guidelines for the ALA website,” and much more!
Next up: LITA Committees.
Questions? Please do ask. You are welcome to comment here, or you can find my contact information on my Connect page.
When I decided to write about my time as LITA Vice-President/President-Elect, I knew I would be writing about LITA committees and making appointments to them, about LITA Forum and my experience there, and about my experience with the LITA Board in general. I’m delighted to learn that there are other responsibilities of the Vice-President, and my hope is that by writing about them, I might help others who are interested in division leadership, be it LITA or not.
My first phone call with Mary Taylor, LITA’s Executive Director (ALA Staff) earlier this year was very pleasant. She called to deliver the news that I had won the election, and that my term as Vice-President/President-Elect would start after the Annual conference in Anaheim. She was clearly excited about the upcoming year, and reminded me of these Vice-Presidential duties:
- Attend training that would help Mary and me establish a working relationship.
- Attend two CNI meetings as LITA’s representative.
- Appoint members to LITA’s committees.
- Appoint LITA representatives to a few ALA committees.
- Plan and run the LITA Town Meeting at the Midwinter meeting in Seattle.
Some of these I already knew about, and some were new to me. I actually have already attended the training (which I have yet to write about, boo), and I had my first conference call as LITA’s representative to the ALA Committee on Appointments, which is the official way of stating #4.
I have been LITA VP for a month and a half now, and things are really starting to ramp up. Stay tuned here to learn what I’m doing, and I hope, to learn more about what LITA and ALA are all about.
Questions? Please ask!
On July 3, I created an online document in the LITA Board’s (ALA) Connect space titled ”What sort of Connect posts should be closed?” This really got me thinking about my perspective on transparency, and the discussions that I have been having with the LITA board, with friends and with co-workers on the topic. (NB: I wrote almost all of the post below the same afternoon as the Connect post, but before the ensuing comments were left there.)
If you are a member of LITA, you will receive a quarterly email from LITA’s Executive Director, Mary Taylor. Each “Member Update” ends with encouragement to connect with LITA in various ways, one of which is to reach out to the leadership, anytime. Log into the LITA website with your ALA credentials to view contact information for all of us. Before I delve into Board stuff, I should explain that Mary is an employee of ALA, but the Board members are not. A Vice-President/President-Elect and two or three At-Large Board members are elected each year by the LITA membership (did YOU vote, hm??). We each have our own day jobs, and many of us are involved in other ALA Divisions as well. We are your volunteer leadership, and are not ALA employees. ALA provides three full-time staff to conduct the business of the organization–managing the budget, paying for speakers and teachers, working with Conference Services, coordinating online education, and probably lots of things that I’m forgetting to list here. Their duties also include reaching out to members, hence the aforementioned Member Updates.
So, here is your Board (photo taken at the 2012 Midwinter meeting in Dallas) :
By the way, until that photo is updated, here is a list of who’s in it:
Front, L to R: me (now VP, eeek), Adriene Lim (Councillor), Zoe Stewart-Marshall (President), Colleen Cuddy (Past President), Karen Starr (now past-past president), Mary Taylor (LITA staff).
Back, L to R: Maurice York (former board member), Aaron Dobbs (former board member), Dale Poulter (Parliamentarian), Jason Griffey (Board member at-large), David Lee King (Board member at large), John Blyberg (Board member at large).
Before you ask, the photographer posed us, and we stayed there, like gender-segregated sheep.
If you have followed #litabd activity on Twitter and on our ALA Connect group, you’ll know that we have talked a great deal about transparency, how transparency relates to privacy, and how it relates to what current President Zoe Stewart-Marshall (or was it Ranti Junus?) termed the “sausage-making” phase of discussions. If you have listened to any of the streamed governance meetings, you’ll know that there are differing opinions, and that sometimes those differences are in stark contrast to one another.
I want to explore this “sausage-making” idea a bit more. The reference is pretty obvious: those who consume sausage probably do not want to see it made. I’m definitely on board with that. To extend the reference into the arena of ideas, setting an idea loose before it’s fully vetted and fleshed out can result in setting expectations that later go unmet, as an idea evolves from its nascent stage to its completed iteration. Which, if one is in the healthcare industry or conducting a war, could be a very bad thing.
The concept opposite to keeping one’s sausage-making under wraps is transparency, and on paper, the LITA board embraces transparency. In March 2007, Clive Thompson wrote an article in Wired Magazine about transparency, titled “The See-Through CEO.” One paragraph in particular struck a chord with me, so much so that I remember it more than five years later:
“Some of this isn’t even about business; it’s a cultural shift, a redrawing of the lines between what’s private and what’s public. A generation has grown up blogging, posting a daily phonecam picture on Flickr and listing its geographic position in real time on Dodgeball [now 4Square] and Google Maps. For them, authenticity comes from online exposure. It’s hard to trust anyone who doesn’t list their dreams and fears on Facebook.” [emphasis mine]
This is the point-of-view from which I operate, as a librarian, as a photographer, mom, friend, partner, and yes, LITA Board member. Let me be clear–I am not speaking for anyone but myself here, and I am certainly not speaking for the Board as a whole, nor as The Voice of LITA. I use Twitter, flickr, instagram and Facebook to connect with my professional and personal friends. I use these same tools to reach out to LITA members before, during, and after Board meetings, to ask them (YOU) questions about the organization and to put the word out about LITA goings-on. As far as I know, my doing so has not caused harm to anyone; in fact, participating online has garnered great member feedback during meetings and programs. We ask and at least two or three of you answer! (ha ha)
You might have guessed by now that one of the initiatives that I will continue to work on is transparency, this year as LITA Vice-President, and next year, as President. For this year, that means bringing transparency to the committee appointment process. There are a LOT of committees and representative slots to fill that begin July 1, 2013, and it’s the VP’s job to fill them all. It’s my hope that doing this as transparently as possible (working within the privacy caveat and ALA guidelines, lest some of you readers are nervous… ) will get more of you engaged in and excited about the organization that we hold dear.
What do YOU think about transparency? I have heard LITA members say that they want to know what the Board is doing, but how much is too much? How much is enough?
Until now, I have not written generally about my experience on the LITA board. The best reason I can offer is that I did this out of respect for members of the board who might have misgivings about it. Whether a concern for privacy or simple FUD, I don’t know, but I respected it. There was not an overt expression of reticence; this was a decision I made on my own, based on conversations that we had about transparency, streaming governance meetings, and having open conversations on ALA Connect. To be clear, to start writing about LITA is also a decision I have made on my own. I will be writing about my personal experiences as a volunteer for my professional organization of choice, and these experiences do not by any means represent the opinions or actions of the LITA Board as a whole, LITA as an organization, or ALA, in any way.
In chatting earlier today with one of my friends, I realized that there is tension between two things, here: the desire to be transparent, and the need for a leadership group to have a private and trusted space in which to chew on ideas. At MPOW, emphasis is put on teams sharing and communicating their work. All ideas are heard, no matter who generates them, and feedback on what does and doesn’t work is important, up and down the chain of command. It is important to be sensitive to when it’s appropriate, and I think overall we are pretty good about that, but when it comes to library collections and services, we err on the side of transparency. Everyone has an interest in making the organization better. I want LITA to be an organization like that.
On the other hand, what if, as my friend put it, we threw a transparency party and no one came? ALA elections don’t generally garner high numbers of votes, and the LITA board doesn’t exactly have to clamor for extra chairs at our meetings. Do members really care about association governance? I think I have decided that it doesn’t matter if only a few members care how transparent we are. SOME members have to care, or there will be no more leaders to take LITA forward. One of the things that has been said again and again is that ALA and LITA are “hard to break into.” This is one symptom that transparency can cure.
The other part of my struggle with blogging is the attention that it can garner. I have written a lot over the last few months about being an introvert and struggling with social media. I hope to post some or all of that someday, but I’m not ready to do that yet. I am not comfortable being in the limelight, but I seem to have stepped right into it again, running for and being elected LITA Vice President. So rather than let y’all come to your own conclusions and wonder what the heck I’m doing for LITA, I’m going to tell you. My hope in doing this is that you’ll become interested and engaged in LITA, if you aren’t already.
For the last couple of days, I have been looking at several reports and proposals having to do with the LITA budget and financial sustainability. I had thought that the LITA financial dashboard was available to members on ALA Connect, but I’m not seeing it now. I’ll ask about posting it; you data geeks out there might find it interesting to view the last several years’ worth of upward and downward trends. Do go see the general data dashboard; it’s neat. Anyway, the LITA budget has ended in the red for the last couple of years, so there is (of course) a task force looking to make recommendations for strategies that will ensure the financial sustainability of the organization. You can read the TF’s report from Midwinter 2012 on Connect.
LITA revenues comprise three streams: Membership Activities (read: dues), Publications, and Education. Conferences and Forum fall under the latter. LITA expenses comprise these same three streams. It takes money to run the association and to offer LITA publications, programming, and (generously sponsored) awards. The goal, of course, is to have revenues exceed expenses, and the way to that goal is to grow membership (i.e., more members = more dues) and offer publications and programming that members (and non-members) want to pay for. In other words, we are talking about pre-conference workshops*, online professional development, and LITA Forum, in addition to ITAL (now open access) and LITA Guides. The Task Force made several recommendations in January; TF members and the Executive Committee are working on a follow-up document to address those recommendations with the full Board at Annual.
*Top Tech Trends and other popular LITA events at Midwinter and Annual don’t actually put money in LITA’s accounts, although they are the things that LITA is known for and the things that we need volunteer committee members (read: YOU!) to make happen.