Special Interest Section
|From the Chair|
One of the things I worried about when I moved into the Chair position was writing this column. Joe Thomasí columns were excellent, and I thought I would have trouble thinking of topics as well as having enough to say about them to fill more than a couple of inchesí column space. It turns out that I didnít need to worry on that score, at least, because I had ideas for each one. Until now. Iíve been searching for inspiration for several weeks, and no light bulbs have lit above my head. Co-editor (and friend) Linda tells me that Iím getting close to the "weíre waiting on you" deadline. So, Iíll try a buckshot approach and touch on a couple of topics.
Last July, I certainly didnít expect to be in a different position at the end of my tenure as Chair. And I certainly wouldnít have expected it to be in a position that isnít traditionally technical services. Life happens, right? Have any of you wondered how an academic acquisitions/serials/government documents librarian could possibly be qualified for a private computer services librarian position? I did, too. What I learned is that several of my skills have transferred to my new position. Many of you may have learned HTML and put it to use creating Web pages for your department or library. My first exposure to HTML was keeping up a faculty memberís Web site while the Electronic Services Librarian at UMKC was on vacation. Eventually, I took over updating that site and then created a site for government documents. My firmís library has an internal reference Web site, of which Iím now the Webmaster. Additionally, I believe my experience in technical services serves me well as I look at reorganizing the site.
Our firm just recently broadened itís contract with OCLC to including full cataloging and the interlibrary loan subsystem. Later in the year we will be upgrading our library system, and I will serve as the system manager in that process. My technical services experience has been and will be beneficial with these endeavors.
In my new position, I serve as the liaison between the library and vendors of electronic services. Making contact with vendors is nothing new to me; in fact, I already knew all of our local reps. At UMKC, I regularly served a shift at the reference desk. I do that now, as well, and my director told me that she sees my position as providing a bridge between "public" and "technical" services. Finally, part of my new job is to review and recommend electronic products. Thatís right, collection development. Technical services.
Iím truly not trying to toot my own horn with this recitation. My point is to show that the skills learned in technical services work at times may seem very specific to a task (and thatís true in many cases), but they also are broader than we often realize. And thatís a wonderful thing to recognize when thinking about the future of libraries in general and of technical services librarians in particular! However, itís important Ė no, itís incumbent on you to develop your skills and knowledge.
I will probably do this at the annual business meeting (Sunday, July 16, 4:00 pm), but I need to recognize some people in this column so every member has an opportunity to read it. More than once since becoming Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect, Iíve put out a "desperation" message on the TS listserv, and often they were answered right away. My first words of thanks go to those persons, because they smoothed the way for me and the Section. Thanks to Joe Thomas for setting such an excellent example of Chairpersonship. Thanks to Linda Tesar for her two years of service as Secretary/Treasurer. Youíre great! The Members-at-Large for both my years on the Board have involved themselves in the work of the association, going beyond the all-important task of planning the "alphabet soup" reception at the annual meeting. Thanks to Mary Burgos, Joann Hounshell, and Cindy May. Alva, thanks for keeping me on my toes. I have the feeling youíre going to set this Section afire! I appreciate our committee Chairs and members, particularly Ė Carmen Brigandi, Melinda Davis, Joe Hinger, Kristine Kuhlman, Melody Lemke, Joan Liu, Chris Long, Jean Pajerek, Pat Turpening, and Gary Vander Meer. I have to single out Nonie Watt for serving two consecutive years as Nominating Committee Chair, a difficult task under any circumstances, and one that she did very well.
Jack Bissett, former Chair of our sister Section, OBS, did a great job serving all of us Section Chairs as SIS Council Chair. The person in this position attends AALL Board meetings, representing the Sections to the Board, and helps us succeed in our positions. If youíre thinking about increasing your experience in the Association, remember this position if youíre nominated for a position within the section.
Anna Belle and Linda Ė youíve really helped us to show off in more ways than one. Your skills, creativity, willingness to serve, and humor could help form a paradigm of the qualities of technical services librarians.
I apologize to anyone I failed to include. It was completely by accident if I did. Iím guessing that if I asked all of my predecessors in the position of TS-SIS Chair, theyíd all say they didnít accomplish everything theyíd hoped to in their year as Chair. I didnít either. But I hope I at least got the ball rolling on some issues, and I plan to continue contributing next year as Past Chair. The Technical Services Special Interest Section is a vibrant and important organization, and Iím proud to have served it and you, its members. Alva Ė you go, girl!