Thinking about themes

Long before Anastasia and I started working on the ALCTS Exchange blog together, I had the pleasure of working with her on another task. In the spring of 2016, Anastasia and I worked together to propose a theme for the ALCTS Exchange to the larger working group. As the ALCTS Exchange Working Group members reviewed our proposal and worked as a group to fine tune it into the themes you see on the ALCTS Exchange website, we had a series of thoughtful conversations about the importance of the theme, given that it would guide so many of the conversations that presenters and participants engaged in during the event.

ALCTS Exchange Working Group members settled on the overarching theme of Embracing the Past, Building the Future because we felt that this theme acknowledges the role that collections and technical services departments (and those who staff them) play,  not only in building and describing the collections that will define the futures of their libraries, but also preserving the collections that have defined their libraries’ histories. It is a wonderful coincidence that the overarching theme of the ALCTS Exchange is so closely aligned with the recently unveiled ALCTS slogan that was unveiled at the ALCTS Membership Meeting and Awards Ceremony at the 2016 ALA Annual Meeting—Creating the Future, Preserving the Past.

What does it mean to build the future while also embracing the past, not only in our own libraries but in librarianship more broadly? For members of the ALCTS Exchange Working Group, this question has a multitude of answers, which is why we chose to give each day of the ALCTS Exchange its own theme. The four-session format gives ALCTS Exchange presenters the opportunity to have conversations around specific aspects of the overarching theme. These themes give us a space to explore ideas related to organizational change, relationship building, and skill building. I warmly invite you to take a look at these daily themes and think about which ones resonate most strongly with you.

Personally, I am most excited about the conversations around the fourth theme—building skills to prepare for the future. I feel passionately about identifying, recruiting, and retaining our next generation of collections and technical services leaders and equipping them with the skills to succeed. One of my greatest joys as Chair of the ALCTS Continuing Resources Section was being able to place the volunteers that will lead CRS in the next few years. In my own library, I’ve worked on our Professional Development and Research Committee which develops continuing education and professional development programming for our faculty and staff. As a person with a personal and professional passion for connecting people to growth opportunities, I am so excited to hear what our ALCTS Exchange presenters have to say about how they have approached this work at their own libraries!

As we move toward May and the beginning of the ALCTS Exchange, you’ll have the opportunity to hear more from people about the daily themes and the overarching theme. Anastasia and I hope to invite ALCTS Exchange Working Group members, ALCTS leaders, and ALCTS Exchange presenters and participants to weigh in on what these themes mean to them. In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you! Take a look at the themes and leave a comment answering one of the following questions:

  1. What does it mean to build the future while also embracing the past, not only in our own libraries but in librarianship more broadly?
  2. Which of the daily themes do you feel most interested in or excited by? Why?

We look forward to hearing from you!

Until next time,


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