I feel fairly comfortable in saying that I know you're not losing any sleep while waiting for the results of the TS-SIS survey. Nonetheless, 148 of you felt it important enough to complete and return, and the officers, committee chairs, Board and TSLL editors have high regard for those responses. By now many of you may have looked at the results on the Web site (http://www.aallnet.org/sis/tssis/survey/9899surv.htm). The list of written comments is 12 pages long -- too long to distribute to each member of the section, but we're not complaining! The more we hear from you, the section members, the better we are able to serve you. I thought I'd give you a brief overview of the survey results from my vantage point as this year's "surveymaster".
If we had an "average" section member based on the categories with the highest percentages, this is what she or he would be: a cataloger or technical services department head in an academic library, who's a member of at one least one other SIS (most likely OBS), who has worked 10-15 years in law libraries and 15-25 years in technical services, with the bachelor of arts and master in library science degrees, who attends the AALL conference each year, taking technical services programs into consideration when deciding whether to attend (there should be at least 3 of them), who is most influenced to attend by committee or business commitments (followed closely by the location), who finds the Roundtables most satisfying of all types of programs, who rates all columns in TSLL highly, and gives the new look of TSLL a "5." Now before you get your backs up and whip out your keyboard to send me a scathing message, know that I recognize that this is not statistically valid and cannot be used to make accurate assumptions about the entire membership of the section.
However, this kind of profile can be quite helpful to those of us who have the task of planning programs and other section work, if that is the portion of our membership we wish to target. It also tells us that we may need to market the section or attempt to increase programming for those technical services librarians that don't fit the "majority" profile. So, for example, if you're a new acquisitions librarian in a court library who's not yet attended an AALL conference, don't despair! This profile can tell you two things: 1) there are plenty of TS-SIS members who can mentor you, formally or informally, or that you can call on for help, a shoulder to cry on, to tell you which publisher just bought out another, etc., and 2) the opportunities for you to become involved and advocate for your interests are wide open.
A few themes came out clearly in the written comments, and I thought you might also be interested in knowing what they are. The one word that popped up in response to almost every question was management (which is one of the tracks at this year's annual meeting). For some questions, it was listed several times. I didn't take the time to try to determine if only the department heads listed it (my sense is that it wasn't). Obviously the section members feel the need for assistance in that area of their work, whether it be the majority of what they do or only a portion of it. Here are some of the themes that came out, listed by question:
Kinds of programs/meetings most useful and the best formats:
» current awareness, new trends
» quality is more important than format
Types of programs or specific programs you'd like to see (there were several good ideas listed – I'll be calling on some of you soon to follow through on them!):
management and related issues (hiring, training, etc.)
» Web and/vs. OPAC
» metadata (there's a program on metadata this summer)
Exchange of Duplicates (questioning the need; eliminate or merge it into another)
» split the Cataloging Committee into smaller, subject-specific groups
» Some said everything is fine as is; others think it's time to restructure
Subjects you'd like to see addressed in TSLL:
Again, as in the case of the average section member, these common themes let us know what many of you are interested in but don't mean that these are the only issues the section leadership will concentrate on. 107 of the 148 respondents made at least one comment, so as you can imagine, there are several other comments we will consider. On the other hand, we also recognize that this 148 represents only 26% of the membership and will try to respond to the widest variety of needs that we can.