The President’s Post – #1

Hello fellow LITAns!  For those of you who don’t know me my name is Aimee Fifarek and I will be serving as your fearless leader for the coming year. I have been a LITA member since I joined ALA in 1997 when I started my first professional job as the Louisiana State University Libraries System Administrator.  It’s hard to believe nearly 20 years have passed since I was a baby librarian running NOTIS in a mainframe environment. So many people in LITA-land have helped me over the course of my career, and I am happy to be able to repay those favors, in part, by serving as your President.

My plan is to do monthly posts during my tenure to share information about what is happening at the LITA Board level and share information about new and upcoming initiatives.  Communication is always in issue with an organization of our size and sometimes the wonkier bits of association business don’t always get communicated widely even though they are often news you can use.  Feel free to contact me – online or off – about anything LITA-related and I will do my best to respond in a timely fashion.

First, some old business, at least for me: committee appointments.  It’s what I spent my tenure as LITA VP doing and I’m happy to say appointments have been fully transitioned to our new VP Andromeda Yelton.  She has gotten off to an excellent start by coding an interface for the appointments database that she and her new Appointments Committee can use to manage all of those volunteer forms you submit.  Between the new committee and Andromeda’s app we are well on our way to defeating the traditional “black hole” nature of the appointments process.

Although it is tempting to think of Committee Appointments as an annual process, it really happens year round as people need to drop off committees for one reason or another or as new committees and task forces are formed.  If you are looking to get more involved with LITA, add some professional experience to your resume, or just want to give back, please do consider volunteering for a committee.  You get to meet new people, go in depth on issues and processes, and have the chance to make the Association that much better.  Check out the options on the LITA Committee Page and don’t be shy about letting us know about your prior experience and special skills.  The more info you put into the volunteer form the better we will be at matching you up with an excellent opportunity.

Speaking of new committees, did you know that as of last year LITA has a Diversity and Inclusion Committee?  With the volume of issues being discussed within the realm of technology in general and librarianship in particular it was well past time for LITA to establish a formal commitment to establish Diversity as a fundamental principle of LITA.  Thanks to Carli Spina who has agreed to be the committee’s first chair and to Evvivia Weinraub for being the first Board Liaison.  Their work will be fundamental to the committee’s ongoing success.

Before I leave the topic of committees I’d just like to send a big thank you to Michelle Frisque and Margaret Heller, our newest Interest Group and Committee Chair Coordinators.  If you are not familiar with this role, these are the folks who make sure the IG and Committee Chairs get the info they need to have successful meetings throughout the year.  We are happy to have them on board.  I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the outgoing inhabitants of those roles, David Lee King and Lauren Pressley, who did an admirable job.

Now, onto some new business.  The first LITA Board Meeting is TODAY September 7th at 11am Pacific.  I encourage everyone to tune in at https://ala.adobeconnect.com/litaboard, and not just the fans of parliamentary procedure snafus (you know who you are!).  We will be discussing, and hopefully adopting, the new LITA Strategic Plan.  Once adopted, this document will stay as is over the next two years and help guide LITA’s activities, specifically helping us to decide how to spend our most valuable commodity:  our time.  The document has four major focus areas:  Member Engagement, Organizational Sustainability, Education and Professional Development, and Advocacy and Information Policy. You can check out the final draft of the Strategic Plan, along with a very preliminary draft of the tactical plan, at the ALA Connect Node 256917.

Advocacy and Information Policy is definitely a growth area for us, and we will be starting out in this plan with some baby steps.  Although LITA will always be the home for library technologists within ALA, we have to think critically about what LITA’s purpose is in a world where everyone does technology.  This strategic plan item formalizes the idea that, as the group that has been thinking about and working with technology for the longest time, we are in an excellent position to guide the development of policies surrounding technology for our libraries and our world.  In the coming year we will be working on building a closer relationship with the units within ALA that are currently working in this area, like the Office for Information Technology Policy. Our goal is not to duplicate efforts already being made, but rather to lend our expertise to the policy decisions that affect all of us.

So that’s my update for September.  But before I go I want to extend hearty thanks to Brianna Marshall who is stepping down as LITA’s first Blog Editor.  She did an amazing job assembling a team and creating policies to bring you the quality content you get regularly through the LITA Blog.  Being first at something is always a challenge and Brianna met that challenge head on.  She is leaving the Blog in the capable hands of Lindsay Cronk, who has big ideas of her own and has been most helpful to me in my first post.  Brianna and Lindsay are just two more examples of the dedication and expertise that has made LITA a great place to be for the last 50 years.  More on that in my next post.

— Aimee