January 23, 2007

Another First - ALA Midwinter

I was fortunate enough to attend ALA Midwinter this year. In my 13 years in the profession, this was the first time I had attended. Normally, I have participated on a local level and have been recently encouraged to broaden my scope.

For those that do not know, ALA Midwinter is the place where much of the "business" of the organization takes place. Meetings are held for just about every entity related to ALA. I found it quite difficult to decide which meetings should take priority as I was new to ALA, ACRL, LAMA, and LITA all at the same time.

In the end, I found myself attending few actual meetings and spending the bulk of my time in the exhibit hall. The IT girl in me marvelled at a first hand view of ContentDM, investigating RFID options for our Media Center, and setting up trials for Central Search (SerialsSolutions) and WebFeat for testing in our upcoming book project.

Those meetings I did end up attending were Heads of Library Information Technology (LITA), Hot Topics (ACRL/CJCLS), and a new Taskforce on Recruitment and Retention of New Library Professionals from the incoming ACRL President, Julie Todaro.

  • The Heads of Library Information Technology meeting addressed budgeting, organizational structure, and collaborative opportunities. They are currently looking for a Vice-Chair, which I said I would consider.
  • The Hot Topics meeting focused on Distance Education Collection Development needs and challenges - eBooks, pay-per-use plan for NetLibrary, media at a distance, a need for vocational collections, and inserting library instruction throughout the curriculum.
  • Finally, I was invited to participate in the incoming ACRL president's new Taskforce to increase recruitment into the profession and retain newer librarians. A broad cross-section of ALA's Emerging Leaders, those who've been in the profession a while, and others interested in succession planning were brought together for this discussion. As a goal, the discussion will spawn Focus Groups to be conducted at ACRL, ALA Annual 2007, and ALA Midwinter 2008.