Contained in the chapter discussing officers in the Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedureby Alice Sturgis is a sentence stating that the chair of an organization is "the first servant of the assembly." To me that definition is fairly accurate, albeit succinct. As this year's Chair of the AALL Technical Services SIS my goal is to incorporate that philosophy into my role as presiding officer. To best serve a group of people, one of the necessary tasks is to identify the important issues of that group. Fortunately, participating members of the TS-SIS have completed the task. On an informal level, members have contacted either me or other officers on the TS-SIS Executive Board with the explicit purpose of discussing their ideas about what the Section should do. On a formal level the annual TS-SIS membership survey provides information on topics of importance to our members. One question on the survey specifically asked what the officers of TS-SIS can do to provide opportunities for membership involvement. Responses to this question appear to be a fair sampling of the membership's primary interests. Additionally, my personal conversations with technical services librarians relayed the same general beliefs. I believe that the ideas which surfaced as a result of the survey and other outside discussions represent the opinion of a significant portion of the Section's membership.
As Chair I should address membership concerns. My plan is to use each of my Technical Services Law Librarian (TSLL) newsletter columns to respond to the concerns of our membership as outlined in the membership survey in order to better serve technical services librarians by attempting to meet their articulated needs. My hope is that by addressing identifiable concerns the membership will gain a clearer understanding of both our current and future goals.
In addition to addressing the concerns listed in the membership survey, I will also keep you apprised of the Section's activities and plans. I do not intend to duplicate information available in the articles written by TS-SIS standing committee chairs and published in each issue of TSLL, but to try to keep you aware of our Section's policies and programs and Executive Board actions and to notify you of opportunities to participate in TS-SIS.
I bring to your attention several matters of importance which were discussed in the TS-SIS Executive Board meetings. The first issue involves the programs at the AALL Annual Meeting in Anaheim in 1998. The Annual Meeting Program Selection Committee (AMPSC) has instituted changes to both the schedule and the program selection processes for the Anaheim meeting with the intent to improve the educational programs. Because the specifics of the changes will be covered in future issues of Spectrum, I will just alert you to the changes that specifically affect TS-SIS -- the reduction of time allowed for special interest section committee meetings and a change in the program selection process.
In Anaheim the time allotted for committee meetings will be ten and one-half hours. For TS-SIS this amount of time represents a significant decrease. In Baltimore, TS-SIS committee meetings (i.e. acquisitions, awards, cataloging and classification, education, exchange of duplicates, preservation, and serials) required approximately 20 hours. By holding overlapping meetings of two to three committees, we were able to consolidate those 20 hours into 14 actual hours. Apply a little basic math to this formula and it becomes evident that the scheduling of our committee meetings in Anaheim presents a very real physical challenge. As scheduling is the responsibility of SIS chairs, I will work with the TS-SIS Executive Board to best meet this challenge. One avenue we will pursue is lobbying for extended hours for our committee meetings. Additionally, in an effort to reduce our meeting time, we will not include the LC update as a TS-SIS committee meeting; it will be submitted as a program proposal.
The second change involves the program selection process. A program submitted from a special interest section may or may not be accepted by AMPSC. AMPSC developed a handbook for program planners which includes a list of suggested topics which they would like to see covered at the annual meeting and sample requests for proposals. At this time TS-SIS has submitted four program proposals and one workshop. By the release of the next issue of TSLL we will know how many, if any, of our programs have been accepted for Anaheim.
The changes to both the schedule and program selection processes for the Anaheim Meeting were a catalyst for the TS-SIS Executive Board's creation of a TS-SIS Ad Hoc Committee. The creation of this Committee is directly related to AALL President Judith Meadows' interest in education and to the AALL report "The Strategic Challenge 1994-98." The Committee will study the provision of regional educational programs for technical services librarians in addition to those programs presented at the AALL Annual Meeting. As a large percentage of the TS-SIS attends the AALL Annual Meeting, we want to continue using the annual meeting as our primary vehicle for educational opportunities. However, the TS-SIS membership survey indicates that members want educational programs for those who cannot attend the annual meeting; members seem to want regional technical services programs. It is my hope that within the next two years the Committee's investigation will result in a long term plan of action regarding educational programs for TS-SIS members. I am looking for TS-SIS members who are interested in the future of educational programs and are willing to volunteer for a two-year commitment to the Ad Hoc Committee. The Committee's work should be illuminating, as it has videotape, distant learning and teleconferences as potential options for investigation. I look forward to hearing from those of you who wish to volunteer.
Fortunately my comments above connect directly to my original promise to address TS-SIS membership concerns in each of my columns. Four other issues also emerged from the membership survey, three of which directly relate to the work of the Ad Hoc Committee: 1) hold annual TS-SIS regional meetings for those who cannot attend national meetings; 2) encourage participation at chapter level; and 3) establish regional TS-SISs. These three issues speak to the need for more technical services educational programs beyond the AALL Annual Meeting. Furthermore, initial discussion on the idea of TS-SIS participation at the local level should begin in the Ad Hoc Committee and develop towards an ultimate long term plan for TS-SIS. The ideas need to start somewhere and the Committee is an appropriate beginning. A fourth issue addressed in the membership survey is the publication of a summary of the TS-SIS membership survey. A summary has been prepared. The summary will be published in TSLL, in sections, over the next few issues.
In closing this column I would be remiss not to express my gratitude to my predecessor. I extend my sincere appreciation to Jim Mumm for his excellent service to TS-SIS as last year's Chair. Jim worked very hard for our Section. In particular we owe him a debt of gratitude for his thoughtful and persuasive argument to the AALL Executive Board to maintain financial support for our representatives to ALA/ALCTS. As a result of his lobbying we will continue to have representatives for MARBI, descriptive and access cataloging, and the subject advisory committee. In addition I am thankful to the 1996/97 TS-SIS Executive Board and to all the members who actively participated in Section activities.