Draft LES Membership Committee Meeting Minutes
8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., July 1, 2013
Hyatt Regency Hotel
In attendance: Jaena Alabi, Jennifer Bartlett, Michaelyn Burnette, Nancy Foasberg, Liorah Golomb, Frank Gravier (chair), Abby Scheel, Jennifer Stevens.
ALA Annual 2013
The discussion forum format for our general membership meeting was very successful. Should we consider using a similar topic for our next one? Have we ever done an assessment of the forum?
We have letters which we send by email to new and lapsed members.
We have seen a slight drop in our number of members. This may change, as ACRL is going to allow members to join as many sections as they wish. It is unclear what effect this will have on sections’ budgets. Currently, sections are getting $.75 per member.
Amanda Binder has become our new director of social media and has been managing LES’s presence on Twitter and Facebook.
Nancy Foasberg will write up a description of the membership forum for the blog.
Further discussion of the nature of the blog is needed—should it be for essays, announcements, or both? Can we ask people to start a discussion about this in the comments?
We talked about simplifying our work with the Publications Committee.
One of the benefits of LES is our support for new literature librarians, especially those without a background in literature. We could publicize what we already do and talk about other ways to help new lit librarians.
We also talked about the New Members Discussion Group and the LES social, which was very big this year.
Liorah delivered a report on mentoring program.
Each time information about the program was posted, people submitted forms immediately afterward. This means we should continue to put out calls for mentors and mentees. So far we’ve had nine mentors and six mentees. Liorah has been able to pair all six of the mentees with mentors by matching the mentor’s strengths to mentee’s interests. Interestingly, all the mentees were interested in digital humanities, but only one mentor was strong in that area. At least two of the mentees were able to make it to ALA, including one from Korea!
Because the requirement for geographic proximity has been dropped, it’s now much easier to make these matches.
The committee considered how to publicize the mentoring program and also talked about getting feedback or testimonials for it.
We could see who gets new jobs by following the announcements in C&RL News and can send a form email to new literature librarians inviting them to join the section. We don’t regularly get a list of the current membership, but this is available from ACRL.
Michaelyn will check C&RL News. We can also send messages to people who leave the section saying that we are sorry to see them go and perhaps asking why.
We also get lists of new and reinstated members, so we could welcome them back.
Membership Meeting & Forum
For Midwinter, we will have a virtual meeting, focusing on the forum at Annual. A virtual forum is currently complicated to do. We’re only required to have one general membership meeting per year, and that works better face to face because it is a way for us to informally share with each other. The committee can have a virtual business meeting for midwinter.
This year at Annual, we had a focused panel, which was very well received. We could do similar panels on many other topics. One idea that was mentioned was leadership development, with ideas such as “leading from the middle.” Humanities people tend not to have leadership at the forefront so much, so such a panel could be useful. Another idea that was mentioned was a poster session, which is how the Women and Gender Studies Section has their Membership Forum.
We will keep thinking about this.
Directory of Literature Librarians
There was some discussion about who should be included in the directory. Is it a directory of literature librarians, LES section members, or something else? Should librarians be included if they are not LES members? Should graduate students be included? Should the directory be opt-out or opt-in? The possibility of dividing the directory between active members and affiliate members was discussed as one way of including those who may not be literature librarians but who literature librarians may want to contact
Currently, the directory is not updated very often. The work of contacting librarians to find out whether they want to be listed in the directory will be divided among the committee members.
We need to decide ahead of time how we will respond in each possible case. If librarians are still listed at the same institutional website which is listed in the directory, we can leave them as they are; otherwise, we should use email to contact them. Self-updating hasn’t worked.
We talked about what the directory should include. If we collect more information, it will require more maintenance to keep this up to date. We could list research interests to help people find collaborators and reviewers, but that could be very difficult to maintain. Maybe people could use the LES Facebook page for these purposes, especially since the requests seem to come in waves at certain times of the year.
Currently the directory is an Excel spreadsheet, so we could make it possible to download it and sort by column, but in its current format it does not allow for any more sophisticated searching. Other possible uses of this data, such as putting together a librarian map, were considered.
Minutes by Nancy Foasberg.