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2007 Annual Meeting O & B Minutes

ALCTS Organization and Bylaws Committee

2007 ALA Annual Conference

Washington, DC


Sunday, June 24, 2007

1:30-3:45 p.m.



Present:  Carolyn Coates (Intern), Kate Harcourt (At large), Tony Olson (CCS), Dustin Larmore (At large), Beth Schobernd (PARS), Nancy Singleton (CRG), Stephen Smith (AS), Dale Swensen (Chair), John Vickery (CDMS)


Excused:  Meg Mering (Serials)


Guests:  Margaret Byrnes (PARS, incoming), Pamela Bluh, Bruce Johnson, Verna Urbanski (Intern, incoming)




Assignment of minutes:  Carolyn Coates agreed to take minutes.


Approval of minutes from January 2007 meeting:  The minutes were approved.


Report on the ALCTS Board meeting:  Dale reported on Saturday’s ALCTS board meeting, including the election results and the passage of the proposed amendment.  Dale also reported that the board clarified its delegation of authority to O & B to establish the scheduling of reviews, to make wording changes, and so forth.  Dale distributed a document that outlines kinds of authority O & B has so that the committee doesn’t have go to the board with quite so many questions.


Also reported was a lengthy discussion on how to get more public libraries involved in ALCTS.  Though 600 public librarians are on the ALCTS rolls, but they may feel marginalized and since they tend not to serve on committees or to be otherwise active in the division.  For example, all of the examples used in a recent workshop were from academic libraries, and might not pertain to public libraries.  At the same time, tenure and promotion requirements in academic libraries encourages participating form academic librarians; public librarians don’t generally have the same requirements for professional activity.  The committee also surmised that since public librarians often have a broad range of responsibilities, they might be less likely to focus on technical services-related issues in their professional activities.


Review of the ALCTS Role of the Professional in Academic Research Technical Service Departments Discussion Group:  Tony reported on this discussion group.  The current chair was planning on ending her tenure after this meeting, but without a co-chair or vice-chair, it wasn’t clear who would step into this role after this meeting.  Recent topics for the DG included promoting support staff; metadata specialists; better communication with library administration and the public about technical services.  Tony felt that the topics all reflected the DG’s title and charge.  Attendance at midwinter was low, but it was also scheduled opposite another DG with a similar audience [Creative Ideas in Technical Services].  There was some talk of discontinuing this DG in favor of Creative Ideas, but most attendees at midwinter wanted to continue the group, in part because the format of the two groups is different.  Tony recommended that if the DG continues it should take “academic research” out of its charge/description.


Others present also questioned the “academic research” aspect of the description, and some questioned whether “professional” might be seen as exclusionary.  Tony noted that the group began as a place to discuss tenure pressures, though in Seattle the topic of discussion had been the retention of support staff.


Dale noted that for discussion groups in general not so much is as at stake for the division.  All that ALCTS provides is a room; as long as the DG is attracting group of people and topics in scope, there wasn’t much reason to discontinue a group, but this one needed to make a decision. 


Given that the group was scheduled to meeting later in the day, Tony offered to attend and to report back to Dale the outcome of the search for a new chair and the attendance (in time for Dale’s report the Board).  The committee agreed that the DG should continue pending these outcomes.


Discussion Groups vs. Interest Groups:  The review raised the issues of discussion groups vs. interest groups and how both are formed and reviewed, as well as section-level vs. division-level groups.  The committee agreed to continue this discussion over email.


Review of the International Relations Committee:  John Vickery reported on the IR Committee:  the charge was last update in 2004-2005 and the current chair was Wanda Dole, and a principal activity was making recommendations for section representatives to IFLA.  O & B members were supportive of the IR Committee, but wanted to encourage them to be more active in organizing programs and publications, and to use their website to better advantage.  The vote to approve the report was unanimous.


Changes in ALCTS Bylaws and the way forward:  Dale noted that while we succeeding in getting section names out of the ALCTS bylaws, we found that the; sections don’t want to write their own bylaws, despite their relative autonomy.  It may be that sections don’t want to have the task of bylaw writing imposed on them, despite have the right to make their own rules.  It was felt that some procedure for reviewing and making changes in the sections might need to be documented in the ALCTS manual so that the process for taking changes to the Board are clear and so that the Board is informed of changes in a timely manner.  Dale noted that any such procedure would need Board approval.


At 2:59 pm Pamela Bluh (President-elect) and Bruce Johnson (President) arrived.


Bruce stated that the committee is empowered to make decisions, in the interest of supporting change and “nimbliciousness.”  He also reported that the ALA website’s content management package was in the process of changing, which should allow for a richer and larger ALCTS web presence in the near future.


Pamela reported that the next day’s President’s Program was the following morning, featuring Peter Morville, a specialist in information architecture, with the message that our skills are still relevant but how we use them will change.  She also invited the committee to the next day’s 3:30 session on the responsibilities of leadership.


Bruce noted that the Serials Section had decided to change its name, but that there was no procedure for the Board to refer this O&B, even for informational purposes, which raised the question again of documenting procedures in the ALCTS manual.  As more changes come along, the Board will be looking for guidance.


Bruce and Pamela left at 3:29 pm.


Items for further action: The committee agreed to discussion Interest Groups and the issues surrounding their review later via email, first on the division level and then at the section level.


Nancy agreed to review the Education Committee; she will attend their meeting at Midwinter and report at Annual.


The committee adjourned at 3:38 pm.



  1. At its meeting, The Role of the Professional in Academic Research Technical Services Departments Discussion Group changed its name to The Role of the Professional Librarian in Technical Services Discussion Group and found someone willing to serve as chair. Dale passed that information on the Board with the O&B recommendation that they be allowed to continue.


2.  At the ALCTS Board meeting, Dale presented a proposal for a revision to the section of the ALCTS Manual on "sections" that requires the sections to notify O&B of proposed name or object changes, so that O&B can review them before they were presented to the Board. The Board voted to approve the revision.