Draft Minutes of Liaisons Assembly Meeting in New Orleans, June 2011
June 25, 2011, New Orleans
Attendees: Mary Carr, Cindy Ingold, Sally Willson Weimer, Sarah Wenzel, Debbie Malone, Marilyn Ochoa, Susan Barnes-Whyte, Kim Eccles, Kirsten Kinsley, Alys Jordan, and Kate Corby, notes.
1. Welcome: We had few enough people in attendance that we went around the room and introduced ourselves.
2. Feedback for Training Committee: The Training and Development Committee solicited comment from the Liaisons about our efforts and their needs. This led to a lively discussion on a number of routine Liaison activities that could be better supported. Among the elements mentioned:
- Reports New liaisons who are doing their reports for the first time were particularly interested in guidance. They need to know how much detail to write, where to send and/or post, and how to access the archive of reports. When experienced liaisons spoke up to offer assistance it became clear that there were significantly different approaches among them. Some guidelines are clearly needed.
- Reimbursement The ACRL reimbursement form is another sticking point. We need to clarify how to access it and when to use it. It is also unclear how long it takes to actually process a claim once submitted. Some people waited a very long time, which may have been because they sent the form to the address on the form without directing to the attention of the Liaison Committee’s staff assistance person.
- Letters of Introduction New liaisons can request a letter of introduction to their organizations from the ACRL executive director. They need directions on how to do this and perhaps some information about timing and content.
- Attendance at ACRL Liaison Events. Several liaisons mentioned that they were unclear which of the two liaison meeting events they were suppose to attend. There seemed to be some sense that it is just too hard to find information within ALA Connect (we learned the next day that the organizational structure of Connect has recently been improved and Katie Coombes with assist with this)
The liaisons would also like to have designated coaches who could guide them through some of the tasks. They are looking forward to the checklist being planned by the Coordinating Committee, hoping it will prove useful in completing the clerical portions of their roles.
Another issue that came up is the blurring of roles emerging because of the delegation to sections of the responsibility for appointing liaisons. Do these people represent ACRL or the Section that appointed them? Section leadership positions change over so frequently that is difficult for a liaison to have a sense of continuity with the section, even a very involved section. There are some sections who have selected liaisons and will share their process with others who may be struggling. If liaisons are representing ACRL, we provide them with very little to show that status – one suggestion was allowing them to carry and present ACRL business cards to contacts within the liaison organization.
3. Grant Process: The grant committee has published new guidelines but is still working out the process details for this initial year. There weren’t a lot of questions, but that might have been because liaisons have not yet attempted to use the new process. The very different nature of the organizations we liaise with, and their varying schedules, were an issue. A firm annual application deadline sounds reasonable, but may be difficult for some liaisons because of timing. We have at least one long standing liaison relationship that is significantly out of line with others in the area of costs. We need to work out whether and how to continue funding that relationship.
4. Round Robin: We went around the room to allow each liaison to share aspects of their experiences with their organizations over the past year. (I am not confident of my note taking on this – got too busy listening. Corrections and additions welcome)
Sarah attended MLA. She noted that it affected her in a number of ways – she was unable to also attend Midwinter because the two conferences are close in time, and she had to skip sessions that interested her in order to focus on sessions that would further her liaison role. Her biggest take away, evident in a number of interactions, was that the MLA members do not understand/devote much effort to considering archiving and scholarly communications issues.
Sally went to ASA. ASA has a small group of librarian members who can work together to have an impact on information literacy and scholarly communications issues. She was a co-presenter and led a round table discussion at the last conference.
Cindy reported that NWSA had a librarian task force that is now dormant but she hopes to reinvigorate. She managed to get accepted to present a panel on feminism and librarianship at the upcoming meeting.
Mary detailed her work with AACC. She and one other librarian meet twice annually with this group of community college presidents. It has been difficult and expensive to break in, but they have achieved impressive results. Are currently working on getting a position statement passed.
Susan works with the CIC. They support her through a Mellon grant as a trainer doing regional workshops on information fluency for English and History departments.