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Subject: Vote on ALCTS reorganization

Vote on ALCTS reorganization

From: Janet Gertz <gertz>
Date: Friday, September 24, 1993
Could you please post the following message.  While it is immediately
relevant only to members of the Association for Library Collections and
Technical Services, the Preservation and Reproduction Sections within
ALCTS are important actors in the preservation and conservation world.

    From:  The Executive Committees of the Preservation and
              Reprography Sections of ALCTS
    To:    All ALCTS Members
    Re:    The vote on the revised bylaws

    The Executive Committees of PLMS (Preservation of Library Materials
    Section) and RLMS (Reproduction of Library Materials Section) urge
    you to vote "no" on the special ALCTS (The Association for Library
    Collections & Technical Services (ALA)) ballot on the new set of
    by-laws.  They drastically change the organization by eliminating
    the sections that are the center of our ALCTS identities as
    specialists in acquisitions, cataloging, collection development,
    preservation, and serials.  They concentrate leadership in the hands
    of half a dozen people.  They bear almost no resemblance to the OSTF
    report, which has been thoroughly discussed and disseminated.
    Instead, they are the last minute thoughts of the Organization and
    Bylaws Committee, presented to you for vote with no public hearings.

    Do We Need Complete Reorganization?

    The new bylaws address a crisis that is invisible to many members.
    ALCTS as currently structured serves its members well in many ways.
    The advocates of change have not made clear what works and what
    doesn't, nor have they identified where the problems originate:  in
    the sections? in central ALCTS? at the ALA level? They haven't tried
    to correct those problems within the current structure.  Voting
    "yes" is throwing a healthy baby out with the bathwater.

    Loss of Identity

    The sections in ALCTS have served an important role by giving
    librarians with functional specialties a place to work together on
    issues related to their jobs.  Forums are supposed to replace
    sections and provide an identity for our communities.  But in the
    bylaws forums have no assignments, no powers, no purpose, no
    function.  Their leadership will not be chosen by mail ballot of all
    of ALCTS; only people actually attending a conference will vote.
    Communities are formed by groups with shared activities and goals;
    forums have neither.  Such a formless, unempowered entity cannot
    nourish an effective community or a sense of identity.

    Sections now serve as the training ground not just for the future
    leadership of the ALCTS but also for the future leadership of our
    cherished libraries and information organizations.  In eliminating
    sections you eliminate a primary means for many library staff to
    acquire the skills necessary to advance in their home institutions.

    Dis-empowering the Membership

    The issue of empowerment is primary.  In the proposed organization
    all power and authority rest in the hands of eight people (six
    directors-at-large, president, vice-president) rather than being
    shared by over fifty people as in the current structure.  This can
    in no way be characterized as member "empowerment"; rather, it is a
    deliberate attempt to limit the input members can have in
    management, planning, and fiscal issues.  Interest groups and forums
    must petition the ALCTS Board for permission to exist.  All
    committees will report to the board.  The past-president will serve
    as the chair of Organization and Bylaws, further concentrating the
    power of the organization in a few hands. A vote in favor of the
    bylaws endorses the move away from self-determination.

    Inbred Leadership

    Some members complain that it is difficult for new people to become
    active because the ALCTS establishment generally appoints/nominates
    only people they already know. The new structure will increase the
    inbred nature of the ALCTS leadership.  The vice-president will make
    ALL appointments to committees and task forces.  How can one person
    know about all interested and able members who want to con- tribute
    their valuable efforts to the work of the division?

    Timeliness of Action

    There is strong concern over a lack of timeliness and responsiveness
    now in ALCTS.  The bylaws make ALL committees, forums, and other
    groups report directly to the Board. Actions which require Board
    approval will need Board discussion during conferences.  In ALCTS
    now there are about sixty committees (excluding executive and
    'bureaucratic' committees).  If even half of these continue, an
    incredible bottleneck to action could quickly develop as the Board
    attempts to deal with all of those reports directly rather than
    through section chairs.

    Timeliness is essential in planning programs and other events. ALCTS
    now sets the time tables, while section committees do much of the
    work.  The proposed bylaws don't address how these matters will be
    handled in future.  Attendance at programs, preconferences, and
    institutes is one of the most valued activities for ALCTS members.
    Should we not at least have a description of the new procedures
    before we vote to destroy the old ones?

    We are all aware that ALCTS needs to change.  But it needs to change
    for the better.  Creating an improved ALCTS is possible, but these
    bylaws are not the way.  We urge members to vote against the
    proposed changes to the bylaws, and we further urge them to take up
    the challenge to find how we can best create the dynamic, flexible,
    and useful organization we all want.


                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:28
                Distributed: Tuesday, September 28, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-7-28-001
Received on Friday, 24 September, 1993

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