Where the Sausage Gets Made

January 27, 2014

As a first-timer at Midwinter, perhaps I didn't know any better, but I crashed the meeting of the All Committee and Executive Committee of the Association of Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) Acquisitions Section on Saturday afternoon. The Policy and Planning Committee and the Research and Statistics Committee were gracious enough to let me sit in on their business meetings. This was my first glimpse into how the work of ALA gets done.

Chaired by Stephen J. Bosch, University of Arizona, the Policy and Planning Committee meeting addressed the process of ALCTS sections review. I believe the purpose of this process is to evaluate the role and relevance of each committee and interest group to see what changes need to take place: Some may have run their course, for example.

The Research and Statistics Committee, chaired by Sadie Williams of ProQuest, was engaged in planning for a preconference program at ALA Annual Conference on streaming media when I dropped by its table. After deciding on the to-do list to take from the meeting, the members marveled at the notion that the name of their committee did not match the content of the program they were offering. (This had to do with the involvement—and subsequent non-involvement—of other ALA groups in preparing the preconference program.) That conversation evolved into a larger question of whether the current committee structure reflects the work being done in libraries currently. For example, where does the topic of discovery fit?

The ALCTS AS Executive Committee stopped at each of the other committees' tables, one by one, during the session. Beginning with the Policy and Planning Committee, the Executive Committee members updated each committee on division news and fielded questions from the visited committee.

The Executive Committee reported that Library Resources & Technical Services is scheduled to go electronic-only as of January 2015 and will realize cost savings from discontinuing the print version of the journal. Table of contents and other alerts can be delivered to ALCTS members. ALA has joined Portico, a third-party service that provides perpetual access to journal content, for long-term preservation of LRTS. Whether and how to provide “green” or “gold” Open Access to LRTS is under discussion.

Perhaps the most interesting news from the ALCTS Executive Committee is that ALA is working toward having more programming, relative to business meetings, at the Midwinter meeting in the future, which to my knowledge continues a trend with Midwinter.

STEPHEN M. BROOKS is head of the Monographic Services Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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