President’s and Vice President/President Elect Report

Gerald Natal, Interim President and President Elect

Another academic year has come and gone—did I just hear a collective sigh of relief from the academic library community? For ALAO, this signals the time to prepare for the Executive Board/Leadership Retreat, where new officers will be installed, a few new appointments made, and strategic planning done for the coming year. This year’s retreat will take place on July 15th in person, with an option to attend virtually. It also means the conference planning committee will go into high gear, as we are approximately at mid-point to the big event.

As we look forward to the future, here is what occurred in the past since the last meeting of the board on April 19th.

Elections and Appointments:

I would like to once again thank everyone for taking the time to run for board positions and volunteer your services and talents. Making time in your busy schedules demonstrates a real commitment to our organization, and I look forward to working with you all (see past president report for election details).

Future of Conferences Task Force:

The ALAO board discussed how to proceed with events post-pandemic. After opinions were offered, a task force was assembled to gather information to better inform decisions concerning events and how to best serve our membership. I have been attending a series of informative ALA Webinars on hybrid programming that should prove beneficial toward this end.

Scholarly Communication Off-Roadshow Rescheduled

The second of ACRL’s free web presentations scheduled for May 5, 2022, “Scholarly Communication Off-Roadshow Webcast Series: Part One – Framing the Issues Impacting Scholarly Communication,” was cancelled. All apologies to those who signed up for the session—a substitute will be offered in the future.

Recording of ALAO Events

A question was raised at the April 19th board meeting about protocol for recording events—in this case interest group workshops. The consensus was that recordings are fine if they are appropriate to the event and that it is made very clear during promotion, registration, and logging in to the event that recording will take place, and if/how that recording is to be shared.

July Board Meeting

The next meeting will be the board retreat, scheduled for July 15, 2022.

Conference Update:

The conference planning committee is hard at work preparing for our event on November 3-4, 2022 at the familiar Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center in Lewis Center, Ohio, and featuring a preconference program and keynote from Alexia Hudson-Ward. Current focus is on reviewing presentation proposals and preparing for registration. I would like to offer a big “THANK YOU” to everyone who took the time to submit a proposal under the theme “Tipping Point: Initiating Change in Academic Libraries.” If you submitted a proposal, look to be contacted sometime in the latter half of June. Stay tuned for information on early bird registration coming sometime in August. In consideration of the current state of the economy and library budgets, fees will remain as they were for our last in-person conference in 2019.

The conference planning committee was considering selecting as a service project an organization that supports Ukraine. However, at the April 19th meeting ALAO board members pointed out that discrimination was being directed toward African students studying in Ukraine and other people of color and ethnicities as they attempted to flee the country from oncoming Russian troops. As a result, alternative service projects will be considered. Thank you to the board members who spoke up about this issue—you exemplify our organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.

The first week of May I attended in-person at LOEX in Ypsilanti, which observed COVID safety measures. I felt safe and was encouraged by the good turnout for our own event. Ironically, I am typing these words after spending my Memorial Day weekend in the throes of COVID. This is a personal reminder that we all need to remain cognizant of the fact that the coronavirus is still in our midst. While our event is far in the future, rest assured that ALAO will have the safety of attendees at the forefront of our planning. We hope you are as excited as we are to see our colleagues face-to-face this fall!

As we move into the summer season, I know many thoughts are directed toward some downtime to revitalize ourselves by languishing on a beach, doing some traveling, or simply enjoying a backyard barbeque. Perhaps some folks will spend their time getting caught up on all those projects they did not have time for during the academic year. However you choose to spend it, I hope you have a great summer.

This entry was posted in Vol. 40 no. 2 (June 2022) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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